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Ripon Royals claim D67 TOC throne
Minor division champs defeated Northgate twice in weekend final
Minor TOC
Logan Kootstra (catcher, background) and Ripon assistant coach Matt Durao celebrate with the rest of the team. - photo by Dave Campbell

 A pair of RBI triples in the top of the sixth inning Sunday led to four runs for the Ripon Royals, and a clutch double play in the bottom of the frame helped quell a Northgate Mets rally in an 18-13 win in the championship final of the District 67 Minors Tournament of Champions at Lincoln Park on Sunday.

In that Royals sixth, Carlos Blanco (3 for 3, four RBI, triple, double, run, two walks) tripled in Drew Mouw (three runs), and Lucas Durao (2 for 3, three RBI, triple, double, two runs, two walks) plated Gavin Cloward (five walks, five runs) on a triple. Logan Kootstra scored four runs for Ripon.

Trailing 18-11 going into the bottom of the sixth, Hunter Reynolds (two runs) came in on a wild pitch for Northgate and Tristan O’Brien (3 for 4, three RBI, run) singled in Easton Allen to draw within 18-13 with two across and no out.

Royals second baseman Drew Mouw then fielded a sharp line drive and got the ball to Bo Brayton to double up the Mets runner on first, slowing down the Northgate threat. The inning and game ended when Ripon pitcher Blanco fielded a grounder to first.

“I am just super proud of our kids from where they started at the beginning of the season to where they finished up,” Royals coach Zeb Brayton said. “It’s all about them, especially Carlos Blanco. He wasn’t even a pitcher for us at the beginning of the season. He just started pitching at the end of the year, and then to go out there and be tough against Northgate was something.

“Northgate is a great team, and they are coached very well. I am just proud of our guys.”

Blanco took the mound in the fourth inning with the bases loaded and no out. He retired the next three batters on seven pitches with one strikeout, yielding a run on a groundout by Jesse Corchero scored that scored Jake O’Brien (2 for 3, two RBI, double, run).

Blanco was victimized by three errors to the first four Mets batters in the fifth that resulted in Cameron Cauthorn, Jaxson Smith (3 for 4, two doubles, three runs), Dylan Quinton (RBI, run), Grant Adams and Joel Castillo each scoring a run. Jake O’Brien (2 for 3, two RBI, double, run) had a two RBI single in the inning for Northgate.

The two teams will have representatives on multiple all-star teams in the District 67 All-Star Tournament beginning on Saturday at multiple venues.

Royals 16, Mets 2 (4)

On Saturday, Ripon scored the maximum-allowed five runs per inning in both the first and fourth innings, adding three runs in both the second and third innings to force the winner-take-all game.

The Royals were patient, drawing 12 walks to just eight hits in the four-inning mercy win. Kootstra had the big bat, going 3 for 3 with three RBI. Blanco (double, two runs) and Jax Vargason both knocked in two runs, Mouw knocked in and scored a run, Jake Brown tallied one RBI, Brayton, Cloward and Austyn Cutter scored two runs each with Coltyn Cutter, Casen Anderson and Austyn Cutter all scoring one run apiece.

Cloward went the first 1.1 innings on the mound, striking out two. Brayton took the hill the rest of the way, striking out five while allowing five hits and two runs.

Quinton led off the Northgate fourth with a triple and came home on the play when the throw to third sailed off the mark. Grant Adams followed up with a single and scored on Jake O’Brien’s double.