Quality at bats in timely spots were hard to come by for Riverbank High’s varsity baseball team on April 24 and 26 as narrow deficits expanded in the final few innings and allowed Ripon to escape with a series sweep.
The Indians broke away from a 3-0 lead after four innings by matching that total in their final two at-bats for a 6-0 host Ripon win on April 24.
Two days later, the Bruins couldn’t capitalize on six hits and a deficit of only 3-1 after three innings, ultimately falling 6-1 to the visiting Indians.
The defeats dropped Riverbank to 6-11 on the season and just 1-7 in the Trans-Valley League. Riverbank is 0-4 in conference play since a shocking 6-5 upset of an Orestimba team (5-3) that beat Escalon (9-1) and is thick in the TVL playoff race.
Riverbank plays Hughson (4-4) today, May 1, and Friday, May 3, and then closes the year with two games against Modesto Christian (2-6).
“We have four games left in our season,” Riverbank coach Ismael Mercado said. “We are looking to finish at a high note.”
Chad Oliver did his best to make a high note of the Ripon series. He hit 2 for 3 with a double in the first game, and then tossed a sharp affair in game No. 2. He also hit 2 for 2 with a double, walk and notched Riverbank’s only RBI in the second defeat.
Armando Manriquez belted a hit in the first contest, while the Bruins saw solid pitching from ace Antonio Perez. The Bruins struggled to string hits together against Ripon ace Caleb Rodgers, a seven-game winner with a 1.17 ERA.
Riverbank had better luck against Brandon Scott in the second game, but could only send three runners on base in two innings of relief by Scott Robison. Tristin Rodgers hit 2 for 4 with a double and a walk for Riverbank.