It all matters.
From rivals to underdogs, scheduled opponents during Trans-Valley League play provide Riverbank High athletes clear targets during action in one of the strongest small school conferences in the state.
Vanquished foes allow Bruin teams to move one step closer toward the postseason while devastating losses can mount serious roadblocks on the road to the playoffs.
Softball and tennis teams at RHS split their recent contests while Bruin baseball, girls soccer and golf teams are still looking for a first league win.
Following is a summary of recent action.
The Lady Bruins (7-8-1 overall, 2-1 TVL) slipped to a 4-1 defeat against Orestimba (12-1, 2-1) on March 19, but fought back to edge Hilmar 6-4 two days later. The Yellowjackets were playoff qualifiers in 2012 and led Riverbank 3-2 after three innings, but fell behind when Riverbank rallied to score three times in the sixth inning.
Riverbank is at Ripon on Thursday, March 28, for a shot to stay ahead of the Indians (8-2, 1-1) in the league standings. Ripon’s lone TVL loss was a 1-0 thriller against a Hughson program that won the section title last year and returns eight starters from their lineup.
Riverbank (1-2) couldn’t match Modesto Christian point-for-point on March 19 and allowed the Crusaders to steal a 5-4 victory on the Bruin courts. The Bruins went on to take a 6-3 win over Ripon three days later. Riverbank played a key conference match with visiting Orestimba (2-1) on Tuesday, though results were not available at press time. The Bruins are still the only team to steal a point from an Escalon program now boasting a combined 26-1 scoring advantage against the league.
Riverbank is at Hughson (0-3) on Thursday, March 28.
Riverbank is the only two-loss team in the TVL, but also the only team to face three-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section champion Escalon.
The Cougars bested Riverbank 6-1 on March 20 and cruised past the Bruins 16-6 two days later.
Antonio Perez and Chad Oliver combined to shut out Escalon for five innings of the first game, but allowed Escalon to jump ahead in the second game after a five-run first inning. Tristan Rodgers notched two hits in defeat while Anthony Gonzales belted in Riverbank’s lone score.
Oliver and Kory Gilbert were knocked around by Escalon hitters in the second game, but did see Rodgers (3 for 4) and Armando Manriquez (3 for 3, two doubles) come through at the plate. The Bruins landed eight hits but committed five errors and allowed 17 Escalon hits.
Riverbank is at Orestimba today, March 27 to continue conference play. Orestimba and Modesto Christian split their opening series while Hughson and Hilmar did the same. Ripon had a two-game bye.
The underclassmen-clad Lady Bruins (0-10) are still searching for their first victory of the season after a 4-3 defeat to Orestimba on March 13, a 3-0 loss to Hilmar two days later and 6-2 decision in Ripon’s favor on March 22.
“I still believe there is a possibility that we can make the playoffs,” Riverbank coach Martin Gonzales said on Monday. “We have been better than some of these teams at times but we haven’t been able to play an entire game that way.”
Riverbank was deadlocked 0-0 after a half with Hilmar and outscored Orestimba 3-2 in the second half, but couldn’t muster the scores necessary for emergence into the win column.
Natalia Villapudua, Jasminne Vigil and Kaitlin Jimenez scored on Orestimba while Villapudua and Lilly Garcia found the net against Ripon.
Riverbank hosts Hughson today, March 27 and Modesto Christian on Thursday, March 28.
Riverbank has forfeited two matches and sits 0-6 in league play. The Bruins forfeited to Modesto Christian on March 21, were downed 218-316 by Hughson on March 19 and fell 177-284 to Ripon on March 14.
The Bruins took on the first TVL tournament on Tuesday, though results were not available at press time. The team is at Escalon and the Oakdale Golf and Country Club on Thursday.