It was a busy, but ultimately disappointing, week for the Cougar baseball squads. The varsity boys fell in three games, battling opponents and the weather, while the JV boys took a pair of losses in their contests this week.
“We got in three games, we were happy to play but we just didn’t play well,” explained varsity head coach Greg Largent. “We had a tough time throwing strikes, we didn’t get timely hits, throw in some crucial errors and we came away with three losses.”
As good as the varsity team had played the week before, they weren’t able to get back to that level this past week.
If they’re going to have a slump, though, Largent said he would rather it happen now as opposed to when they are in the thick of league play.
They started off the week with an 11-7 loss at East Union on Tuesday, March 5.
Escalon took a 1-0 lead in the first on a pair of doubles by Lucca Dutra and Cole Gilbert but then allowed two runs in the bottom of the first. East Union added two more in the third and five in the fifth, continuing to pile on the runs.
Escalon chipped away with a pair of runs in the sixth and did score four in the seventh to “make it respectable,” Largent noted.
They only had six hits on the day with two each from Dutra and Gilbert, one hit apiece from Clay Evans and Bryce McPherrin.
Luke Anderson got the start and went four innings, allowing four runs. Ethan Johnson worked an inning, McPherrin worked an inning. Both gave up several runs but Largent said some Cougar miscues behind the pitchers played a role in the East Union scoring binge.
“Thursday we were home against Mountain House,” Largent said, noting that the Mustangs used to be in the Trans-Valley League.
Now, they are a non-league foe.
“We fell behind early, they were up 3-0,” said Largent. “We scored a run in the bottom of the third but left the bases loaded.”
Ultimately, the game was a 7-3 loss for the Cougars as Mountain House sealed the win with a three-run sixth.
Gilbert went three-and-a-third innings, struggling to find the strike zone, walking five and hitting a batter. Carson George came on in relief and closed out the game.
The bats were quiet again, just five hits for the Cougars with a single from Clayton Ferreira, a pinch hit double from Noah Rast, RBI single from Devin Roberson, double by Dutra and a single by Evans.
Saturday, the varsity squad picked up a game against Sonora, the Wildcats coach contacting Escalon during the week to see if they would be interested in playing. For Largent and his team, the more games they can fit in, the better.
“They took it to us,” the coach admitted of the visitors walking off with an 8-3 victory.
“They started a big lefty, he had good velocity, a nice change up,” Largent explained. “He pitched four innings and all 12 outs he recorded were strikeouts.”
Sonora scored two in the first and three in the third to take a 5-0 lead.
The Cougars got one back on a Cole Gilbert home run in the fourth and they added another in the fifth, a run scoring on an error, making it 5-2. Sonora scored two in the sixth and one in the seventh. Escalon put one more on the board in the bottom of the frame. Dutra doubled and an eventual bases loaded walk to Roman Gonzalez brought the last run across the plate for Escalon.
“Again, we didn’t hit the ball very well, we had four hits,” Largent said.
Gilbert had a single and a home run, Nash Satnat had an infield single and Dutra had a double. Dutra also got the start on the mound, going four innings, allowing five runs, three of them earned. McPherrin pitched two-and-two-thirds and Ethan Johnson came in to get the final out in the top of the seventh.
The young Cougars had a tough week, losing at East Union and falling to Mountain House in a home game.
“Tuesday was a wet, rainy and cold day and we lost 10-0,” said head coach Ken Baptista of falling to the Lancers. “It was close for three innings but silly mistakes in the field and on the bases hurt early on.”
The team left the bases loaded in the second, unable to get a run across the plate.
Mark-Anthony Valente and Ty Harris had two hits each in the loss.
“They had a big fourth inning,” Baptista said of East Union. “We shot ourselves in the foot a few times.”
Thursday, the squad was back on the home field and took a 7-4 loss to the visiting Mustangs.
Escalon got two runs in the first, with an RBI ground out from Cam Maruyama and an RBI from Orion Hoover. Mountain House scored runs in several innings and had a 7-2 lead before Escalon scored two runs in their last at bat to close the gap.
“They only had four hits, we walked eight and hit one,” Baptista said.
Pablo Macias had a late RBI and Tyler Medina had a double and made a spectacular diving catch in centerfield in the fourth inning to end a Mountain House threat.
Weather permitting, this week will be another busy one. The Cougar squads were scheduled to host Patterson on Tuesday, March 12; host Enochs on Wednesday, March 13 and will play at Stagg on Friday with the JV game at 3:30 p.m. and the varsity under the lights at 6:30 p.m.
Escalon will host Riverbank on Tuesday, March 19 to open Trans-Valley League play.