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Baseball wins two of three at Dickens Invitational Tournament
Volleyball falls to Wolves

It was a busy Spring Break week of action for Escalon varsity baseball players, as the squad took part in the 2024 Mark Dickens Invitational, hosted by Oakdale High School.

The tournament, named in honor of the late OHS baseball coach, brought together teams including Hughson, Central Valley, Escalon, Los Banos, Downey, Las Plumas, Wheatland and host Oakdale for three days of competition, April 1 through 3.

“We won two out of our three games,” said Escalon head coach Gino Franceschetti. “We played very well and beat up on some really good teams.”

The tournament started out on a tough note, however, as Escalon fell to Los Banos by a 5-1 final in the opening round.

“Day after Easter and coming off our emotional (extra inning) win against Hughson, I kind of saw that game coming,” admitted Franceschetti.

In the second game, they faced off against Wheatland, which came in with a 12-2 record.

“We won, 11-6,” Franceschetti reported. “Ian Burk pitched for us and he pitched six innings. We were hoping to get a solid three innings out of him but he was in the zone so we just let him go as far as he could.”

Escalon was well out in front by the time Wheatland added a few runs in the seventh, but they never really challenged for the win.

Jamin Miller was 2-for-4 with two RBI; Ryan Murphy was 3-for-4 with an RBI. Lorenzo Teixeira went 1-for-2 with a double and two walks and Jackson Runnells was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

“The last game we played Las Plumas,” Franceschetti said of facing the team from Oroville. They came in with a 13-3 record and Escalon took the tourney win by a final of 9-2. Greg Adams got the win on the mound, going the distance in the game.

“Greg has carried us in the pitching department and really stepped up with the injuries we acquired before the season,” explained the coach.

Offensively, Runnells was 2-for-5, rapping out two doubles and driving in two runs.

“Our whole line up had a hit that game,” Franceschetti said. “Josh Fiori had one of his best defensive games I have seen in my two years I have had him.”

The Cougars have come back strong from a tough 0-7 showing in preseason play.

“Overall, the boys played very well and we are hoping to build on our past success,” Franceschetti said.

He noted that, after the preseason dust had settled, the team came together.

“The boys realized they needed to go back to the basics and doing what’s best for the team,” the coach said. “They really embraced an identity where they care and play for their teammates. And most important, they are believing in themselves. It has been very fun watching them overcome some adversity and the best is yet to come, in my opinion.”

Trans-Valley League play resumes this week; the Cougars will host Hilmar on Thursday, April 11 at 4 p.m.



Though it was officially Spring Break week, the varsity volleyball boys welcomed Livingston to town on Thursday evening, April 4.

It was a win for the visitors, though, as Escalon took the loss in straight sets, 15-25, 23-25, 9-25.

“We started off strong in the first set with some really great, long rallies, but ultimately got stuck in a server receive rotation in that set,” explained head coach Shay Beam. “In the second set, we hung with them for the majority of that set. I really thought that we would be able to pull it off.”

Beam said her team was quick on offense in that set, with the blockers getting blocks and the team working well together.

“Ultimately we lost that set by two points and we lost a lot of our momentum going into set three,” Beam said. “With league play we are excited that we get to play each team twice so we are looking forward to getting better in the next two weeks and traveling to Livingston to see them at their home court.”

For the JV volleyball boys, they also took a league loss to the visiting Wolves, losing 2-1. After falling 15-25 in the first, the JV Cougars came back to win 25-15 in set two. But the host team fell 8-15 in the third to the Wolves.

K’Oz Castro had three kills, Ezra Rameno added four kills and Jerenai Maglalang had six assists.

“We were short two players so my libero Jerenai had to set, both my middles played back row and my defensive specialist, Carson (Criteser), had to play front row,” head coach Nicole Bianchi said of switching things up on the court. “It was a fantastic effort by all six of the players to communicate and play aggressive in positions where they had just a few days to practice. Everyone stepped up to the task and I’m really happy with the level of play and teamwork they showed against a competitive team.”