Roundup: Ripon Christian caps 2-0 week with second late-inning comeback

After a season full of blowouts, Ripon Christian baseball coach John de Visser knew his team was due for a close game. This week, it got two.

The Knights (17-5, 11-1) trailed for most of the game, but scored eight runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, turning a 5-3 deficit into an 11-5 lead en route to an 11-7 victory over the Southern Athletic League’s third-place team Orestimba (11-6, 9-3) on Friday afternoon.

The league’s first-place team trailed entering the late innings in both matchups of a two-game slate against the Warriors, but rallied to take both, sweeping the series and extending its SL win streak to 11 games.

“This was fun because we hadn’t had it all year,” de Visser said of the pair of close games. “I really was curious to see how they’re going to fight … and they had to come back to win twice. That’s a good sign for us going in next week and hopefully into the playoffs.”

The Knights scored twice in their half of the first inning, but gave up three runs in the third, and trailed by two entering the bottom of the sixth.

Ripon Christian’s David Koolhaas beats the tag by Orestimba catcher Nate Perez during the Southern League game in Ripon, Calif., Friday, April 28, 2023.
Ripon Christian’s David Koolhaas beats the tag by Orestimba catcher Nate Perez during the Southern League game in Ripon, Calif., Friday, April 28, 2023.

Logan Sauer, who started the season on junior varsity but was promoted in early March, continued to have an impact. After a pair of walks to start the bottom of the sixth, the sophomore singled to left field, scoring Micah English and David Koolhaas to tie the score at five apiece. The two-run single sparked a rally that saw the Knights bat around, with Dustin Hoekstra, Josh Buffalow, Luke Crivello, English and Koolhaas all collecting RBIs.

“We put together good at-bats and stopped making mistakes on the bases,” de Visser said. “We started executing the bunt game and all the execution stuff that we should have been doing since the beginning. We went back to Ripon Christian baseball, which is play sound fundamental ball, pitch and play defense and execute.”

Hoekstra got the start, Eli Terpsma came on in relief and English recorded the final out as the closer as the trio of pitchers struck out eight, walked 11 and gave up just three earned runs.

The Knights play their final two-game series of the regular season against fourth-place Mariposa County on May 3 and 5. If the Knights win their league, they will play in the Division VI playoffs. A second- or third-place finish drops them to Division VII.

Baseball scores

Pitman 5, Enochs 1: The Central California Athletic League leaders, Pitman picked up its fifth straight league win Friday afternoon, completing a series sweep of the Eagles. Seniors Drew Walker and Andrew Balentine each recorded two RBIs and Marcus Perez finished a perfect 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Walker pitched the full game, striking out 12.

Turlock 3, Gregori 2: Three first-inning runs were all the Bulldogs needed to come out victorious in the finale of their CCAL series against fourth-place Gregori. Four players finished with a hit each, including Tyler Castro who had two RBIs. Turlock, the CCAL’s third-place team, had a 10-5 league record.

Manteca 11, Oakdale 8: Christian Diebner hit a home run and drove in three RBIs, but it was not enough to overcome a six-run fourth inning from the Buffaloes. While the Mustangs still won the season series, the loss snaps a five-game win streak. Oakdale will play a three-game slate against second-place Sierra next week.

Central Catholic 25, Kimball 1: Freshman Broden Thomas hit two home runs and junior Joseph Salacup added another long ball as the Raiders put up 25 runs in five innings against Kimball. Seven players drove in multiple runs as the VOL’s first-place team extended its win streak to eight games.

Downey 10, Modesto 0: Juniors Jaxen Rowland and Wyatt Edwards combined for the five-inning shutout against the Panthers. Andy Canales had a team-high two RBIs while Camden Rush and Ethen Rowland had two hits apiece. Downey holds its spot as the CCAL’s second-place team entering the final week of the regular season.

Beyer 13, Johansen 3: The Patriots earned the season sweep against Johansen, extending their win streak to three games. They finish the season next week with a pair of games against sixth place Pacheco.

Softball scores

Riverbank 6, Ripon 5: Mahaila Guzman connected for two doubles and drove in three runs to help lead the Bruins in a battle between the TVL’s two top teams. The win ends a two-game losing streak for Riverbank and gives it a split in the season series.

Central Valley 4, El Capitan 3: Janessa Godinez and Allie Peterman drove in two runs apiece for the Hawks as they maintained their lead in the Central California Conference. The Hawks finish the season with five games, with four coming against league opponents.

Hilmar 10, Escalon 8: Camryn Mattos collected three hits with a triple and four RBIs, leading the Yellowjackets to their third straight win. Hilmar sits in fourth place in the TVL with a 3-4 record. Escalon catcher Macie Vickers recorded a triple and Lucy Allbaugh drove in three runs for the league’s third-place team.

Orestimba’s Alex Millan delivers a pitch during the Southern League game with Ripon Christian in Ripon, Calif., Friday, April 28, 2023.
Orestimba’s Alex Millan delivers a pitch during the Southern League game with Ripon Christian in Ripon, Calif., Friday, April 28, 2023.