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Cougar Baseball Boys Mix It Up With Enochs, Ceres
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With just a couple of games on their schedule, Escalon's varsity baseball boys split the contests this week.

They lost at Enochs of Modesto on Tuesday, Feb. 26, falling in a close 1-0 contest.

"We just didn't swing the bat very well, had only three hits and just couldn't do anything," head coach Greg Largent said. "We had two runners thrown out at the plate and seemed to be pressing ... we had 12 strikeouts."

The 'pitching is ahead of hitting' early on seemed to be true, as the Enochs pitchers got the best of the Cougars.

For his part, starting Escalon pitcher John Lopez did an outstanding job, allowing just one run and only two hits.

"He's a left-handed pitcher, he gave up infield singles to the first two batters and then gave up no hits the rest of the game," Largent explained. "He threw 71 pitches, five strikeouts and a walk, we played pretty good defense behind him."

The one error was costly, as the Enochs players got on first and second, moved up on a passed ball, and then the run scored on an RBI ground out to second.

Leighton Pangilinan doubled, Derrick DeFreitas and Tony Gonzales had singles for Escalon's three hits in the game. Enochs had just two hits and one error.

A Friday game originally scheduled with Livingston was instead played against Ceres; as Livingston had inadvertently scheduled the game for Thursday and had a different contest on their schedule for Friday.

"They called me Thursday and asked if we were still on for that day and I told them it was Friday," Largent explained.

With Livingston also committed elsewhere, Largent got on the phone and was able to quickly schedule a game with Ceres.

"We took a 12-2 win, got our hitting back," he said.

Escalon had 12 runs on 13 hits and no errors; Ceres had two runs on three hits with one error.

Jacob Caton scored in the first, with two more Cougar runs in the second, keyed by a Thomas Ray double, a suicide squeeze by Chris Smith and an RBI single from Spencer Franceschetti. In the third, Pangilinan doubled and Jake Winkler knocked him in with an RBI single. Fourth inning runs saw an RBI single from Nick Aprile, scoring Franceschetti, who had singled and stolen second.

Ceres countered with single runs in the second and fifth innings, then the Cougar varsity boys put them away with a seven-run sixth inning. Key hits were a two-run double from Pangilinan, RBI singles from Winkler and Nick Largent and a bases loaded walk to Aprile that brought in another run.

Jimmy Zepeda got the start and went five innings, giving up two runs on three hits. He struck out eight and walked one. Jon Whitesitt came on to pitch the final inning, striking out two of the three hitters he faced.

In the game, Caton, Franceschetti and Aprile all went 2-for-3. Pangilinan was 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs; DeFreitas was 2-for-4.

This week, the Cougars are helping host the Manteca Tournament, with games at the school going on every day. Escalon faces off with Weston Ranch today, Wednesday, March 5 at 3:30 p.m. and then take on Grace Davis on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Games this weekend in Manteca will be determined by the outcome of the pool play. Next week, they take on Amador in the preseason finale on Tuesday, then play at Ripon Christian on Thursday, March 13 to open up the Trans-Valley League campaign.