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Cougar Baseball Sweep TVL Opponents
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All of a sudden, the outlook is good for Escalon's varsity baseball team.

With a busy week, including two regularly scheduled contests and a make up game, the Cougars won all three and improved to 5-0 in Trans-Valley League play.

"It was quite a week," agreed coach Greg Largent.

Monday, the boys hosted Ripon Christian and took a 12-6 win on the strength of some power hitting early.

"We got a grand slam from Peter Krumeich in the first inning and he had a two-run double in the second, he was our big hitter with six RBIs," Largent explained.

With an early 10-0 lead, the Cougars relaxed a bit and let the Knights get back in it, scoring one run in the third, two in the fourth and three in the third to trim the deficit to 10-6. Escalon put up single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to put the game out of reach.

Travis Hooks went 2-for-2 in a solid performance, while Steve Largent was 2-for-3.

A trio of pitchers took the hill, Grant Goedhart going the first three. Joey Pinasco came on and struggled a bit in his two innings, allowing five runs, giving way to Phil Parrish, who finished up with two innings of solid relief.

"That set up the big game with Ripon, they were undefeated going in and we knew it would be a close one," said Largent. "We took a 3-2 decision over there and it was an even bigger win to get it in their park. We played great defense all day."

Escalon scored in the first inning, Brian Beeman walked and stole second, scoring on an RBI double from Jared August. In the second inning, Anthony Suniga walked, Largent got hit by a pitch and Scott Sand lined a solid shot toward the third baseman, who knocked it down and got the force out at second. Beeman later followed with an RBI single. Ripon answered with two runs in the bottom of the third to tie the game.

"We did make some baserunning mistakes that cost us a few runs, we were aggressive," said Largent.

Escalon took the lead back in the top of the fifth, Beeman was hit by a pitch and with the hit and run on, he was able to make it safely to second on a grounder by Parrish. August then drove in Beeman with a single.

In the bottom of the frame, the Cougars dodged a bullet, with their big hitter - Danny Price - at the plate with runners at first and second. Krumeich, on the mound for Escalon, uncorked a wild pitch but it took a Cougar bounce, catcher Ross Brayton grabbed it off the backstop and fired a strike to third to erase that baserunner.

More excitement came in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded and two outs, Sand making a catch in no man's land between the infield and outfield.

"He made a heck of a play, he somehow came up with it," Largent said.

The catch was protested by the Ripon coach, who argued unsuccessfully that Sand had trapped it and got thrown out of the game for his trouble. In the seventh, Ripon kept the pressure on, getting a leadoff walk. They opted not to bunt but still had home run threat Price at the plate with the tying run on and the winning run at the plate. Price has five home runs this season. He walked and then it was Beeman coming up with a diving catch in center field for the final out of the game.

"We got Patterson Friday, coming in after an emotional win, I wasn't sure how the guys would react," Largent admitted.

But he didn't have to worry, the Cougars took an 8-0 win off the diamond from the Tigers.

They scored single runs in the first and third innings, six in the sixth.

Krumeich drove in August with a two-out single in the first inning, Beeman doubled to left field in the third and scored on another two-out hit by Krumeich. Sixth inning runs came with an RBI from Largent on a swinging bunt, an RBI single from Sand and the big blow was a three-run triple from Parrish. August added a sacrifice fly to round out the scoring.

"Goedhart pitched a complete game, he had 15 strikeouts," Largent said of the solid performance.

With the sweep of TVL teams, the Cougars now stand at 13-3 overall and a perfect 5-0 in league.

"Now we've got to defend the castle," said Largent. "We're one game up on Ripon, two on Riverbank."

The boys are scheduled to be on the road to face the Riverbank Bruins on Wednesday, April 20 and then play at Hughson on Friday.

"They are both small ballparks," pointed out Largent. "We hope we can continue the great pitching and great defense. We were hoping to win two of three this (past) week so to win all three was great."

Even so, Largent said his players know they have to take each game seriously, overlooking no one in the league as they hope to make the playoffs.

"We need to just keep going, stay focused," he said. "We face whoever's in front of us."