High School Sports

From the first practice, they knew. How one local softball team won a section title.

Ripon softball wins CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV title

Ripon High School softball beat Calaveras High School on Friday, May 24, 2019 in Stockton, California. It's the Indians' first title since 2016.
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Ripon High School softball beat Calaveras High School on Friday, May 24, 2019 in Stockton, California. It's the Indians' first title since 2016.

After their first practice, members of the Ripon softball team sensed it.

“We are winning a section title,” sophomore pitcher Sydney Thomason said.

The team that started the season 18-0 did exactly that with a 7-3 win over Calaveras on Friday in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Championship at the Arnaiz Softball Complex.

It’s the school’s first softball title since 2016 and the Trans Valley League’s second championship after Escalon won the Div. V crown on Tuesday.

Thomason did it all against Calaveras, throwing a complete game while striking out four and adding a sacrifice fly and run scored.

After Ripon scored two in the bottom of the first, Thomason ran into trouble in the second and third and had runners in scoring position in both innings but struck out batters to end the frames without allowing a run.

“I wanted to attack those hitters and I couldn’t walk batters because I didn’t want to hurt my team,” Thomason said.

Ripon (24-2) added more runs in the fourth and fifth after RBIs by juniors McKenna Daley and Bianca Toledo and held a 5-1 lead heading into the sixth.

But the Indians committed three errors and Calaveras scored two and had the tying run at first base.

Ripon coach Robert Vernon went out for a mound visit to calm his team.

“Relax and make plays,” Vernon said. “I had all the confidence in the world in them.”

They got out of the inning and junior Lilly Mejia had a two-run double to left in the bottom of the sixth to increase the lead.

The Indians were a power team (32 home runs) for much of the year and although they didn’t have a single long-ball against Calaveras, they still had quality at-bats and multiple hits off the wall.

“We worked on a concept of getting good pitches to hit under stress,” Vernon said. “They had to be patient.”

According to Mark Tennis of Cal-Hi Sports, Ripon will end the season as the No. 1 team in the state in Division IV.

Just like how they planned it from that first practice back in early February.

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Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.
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