Ripon — Ripon High has all but secured another Trans-Valley League title following Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over visiting Escalon.
“We were able to manufacture runs due to the defensive positioning (by the Cougars),” said Indians coach Robert Vernon.
Ripon (7-0 TVL, 15-3 overall) needed a few things to happen in this crucial game.
“Escalon had to score five runs (over us) and win to get the No. 1 seed,” Vernon said. “Plus, they still had to win out.”
As it turned out, the Indians took care of their business thanks to some aggressive base running.
Leadoff Hana Lee, in particular, wreaked havoc twice after reaching base on infield singles.
“I tried to force (Escalon) to make the plays,” she said.
Ripon eked out a run in the third off Cougars’ strikeout artist Chardae Hoskins, who fanned six of the first nine batters she faced.
She finished with 10 Ks, improving her league-leading 121 strikeout tally.
Lee, meanwhile, beat out a grounder along the third base line for a two-out hit. She subsequently stole second and scooted home when the throw from catcher sailed into the outfield for a two-base error.
Escalon (6-2 TVL, 18-6) tied the game at 1-1 in the fifth inning, taking advantage of a pair of infield miscues by the Indians following Ashley Duval’s two-out hit.
Consecutive errors allowed for Duval to score the tying run.
Lee untied the game in the bottom of the frame, reaching base once again with an infield hit with two down. After swiping second, she made it safely to third and scored on another errant throw.
Ripon added some insurance in the sixth thanks to Mikaela Ferreira’s lead-off triple into the rightfield corner. Two batters later, Shay Furtado delivered an RBI single to right.
“Mikaela has been coming through with some big hits as of late including a home run against Hughson,” Vernon said.
His pitcher Danielle Sperry also delivered, limiting the Cougars to four hits and walk. The only run she allowed was unearned.
The Indians threatened in the second when Felicia Ceja drew a lead-off walk. She advanced to second on a passed ball and reached third on an error.
But Hoskins got out of the jam by striking out the side.
Ripon had runners on second and third in the fourth inning before Escalon worked its way out of that jam.
After the fifth, Sperry and shortstop Ferreira kept the Cougars in check, setting down seven of the final eight batters.
Ferreira had three putouts and second baseman Furtado hauled in the line drive to register the final out.
Ripon takes on Mountain House on Friday and closes out the regular season next week playing Hilmar (Monday) and Hughson (Wednesday).
Ripon Christian 7, Delhi 1
RIPON — Kristin King hit for the cycle in her four at-bats, adding two runs and an RBI as Ripon Christian (4-8, 7-12-1) completed a sweep of Delhi (3-8, 3-14).
Nikki Berghorst contributed two hits and three RBIs. Pitcher Katie O’Leary went the distance for the win, scattering five hits.