GALT — Advancing to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-V semifinals did not seem like any sort of solace for the Ripon baseball team, as it closed out an impressive season with a 9-2 loss to Summerville Thursday at Galt Community Park.
The urgency was evident for the Indians (15-11-1) early, with Sam Van Vuren leading off the game with a triple off the right field fence. Alex Gustin drove in Van Vuren with a single, but the lead would not last.
Summerville found its first trip through the lineup useful as well, scoring three runs with five of its first six batters reaching base. Ripon starter Justin Scott gave up three consecutive hits to those batters, but didn’t find himself in real trouble again until the fourth, when the Bears broke it open with three more.
“We got that triple to lead off the first and I was hoping that would jump start us a bit,” Ripon head coach Mitchell Evans said. “Not to take anything away from Summerville, they’re a great team and they’ve worked really hard and they deserve to be here, but our kids were a little tired from (Wednesday’s graduation) ceremonies.
“The momentum for us never quite kicked in.”
Offensively, Ripon could only muster five hits with both Van Vuren and Gustin both collecting two hits apeice. Zach Evans led off the fourth with a base hit for the team’s other hit. Summerville pushed three across in the first and two more in the second, seemingly in cruise control with a 5-1 lead.
The Indians would answer with one in the third and had two runners in scoring position in the fourth when a hammered ball to deep right field off the bat of Dante Machado hung up just long enough to cancel out his heroics.
“If that gets down it’s a different ball game all together,” Evans said of Machado’s at bat. “We’ve been around this game long enough to know that momentum is a big influence. Once you get momentum going for you a lot of good things happen, and unfortunately I never felt it on our side.”
Summerville (19-4-1) rode starter Josh Dunlap for seven innings. The righty was far from overpowering, yet was extremely effective to say the least. Dunlap only walked two batters and never faced more than five batters in any inning.
“We are really pleased with his effort,” Summerville head coach Larry Gold said. “Up our way we call him ‘The Bulldog’, he is just tenacious. Something’s may happen and then all of a sudden he’ll come back and bite you. That’s exactly what he did today.
“He struggled early in the beginning; he’s not overpowering, he just locates and buckles down on you.”
Ripon closes out the season on a performance that was no where near the club’s best showing. With the Ripon High graduation ceremonies taking place less than 24 hours prior to first-pitch, the Indians had ample reasoning behind a lackluster effort. Van Vuren clearly took advantage of his final moment suiting up for the Indians.
“It’s just like any other time, you don’t want to lose, especially my last game of my senior year,” Van Vuren said. “You just have to leave it all out on the field and that is what I was trying to do; trying to get my team in it.
“There’s really nothing else that you can do.”