In what was a rough week for both the varsity and JV baseball teams, Escalon dropped their contests to Central Catholic.
The varsity lost by final scores of 12-2 and 16-5 while the JV went down by nearly identical scores, losing 12-1 and 16-5.
“We had a tough time throwing strikes,” head coach Greg Largent said of the road and home losses to Central.
At Central Catholic on April 13, Ty Harris started but was unable to get out of the first inning. Josh Miller came on in relief but before the first inning was over, the Cougars were at a 6-0 deficit. They could never get on track during the contest.
Three walks, a dropped pop up and other miscues helped Central push some runs across the plate.
“We got a run in the second,” Largent said.
Bryce McPherrin walked and scored on a base hit by Nico Franzia.
“Nico is now our starting catcher, and in his first varsity at bat delivered, it was a sharp single up the middle, his first hit, first RBI as a varsity player,” Largent noted.
Central added four more in the fourth, on a couple of errors, more walks and a home run.
Mark Valente then came on in relief and did throw some strikes, notching four strikeouts. He also walked four.
Escalon got one more run in the fifth. Miller got a single, Demetrius Teixeira singled and Miller scored on a ground out to make it 10-2 before Central added some late runs for the victory.
“We struck out 15 times,” Largent said.
There were some bright spots, including the play of JP Lial at third, Franzia with a good game and some nice plays from Cam Ruiz but they were overshadowed by the loss.
Thursday at home, starter Demetrius Teixeira worked out of a jam in the first and Escalon went up 2-0 in the bottom of the inning. Josh Miller reached on an error, Luke Anderson walked, Valente singled in Miller and Teixeira singled in Anderson.
“We played great until the third, then we walked the first two batters, committed three errors in the inning and gave up a home run,” Largent explained. “It was 5-2 in what seemed like about two minutes.”
Central tacked on four more in the fourth, knocking Teixeira off the mound. McPherrin came in but struggled and Orion Hoover came on in relief, settling things down.
“We did get a pretty good rally in the fourth, added three runs,” Largent pointed out.
That included an error, a Hoover single, a Ruiz walk, a walk to Miller for an RBI and a two-RBI single from Teixeira.
“Then it got ugly in the fifth, we gave up a touchdown and the extra point in fifth,” Largent said, with Central putting the game away at 16-5.
The games were frustrating, said the coach, since many of the runs were the result of Central capitalizing on Escalon miscues – including 21 walks, five hit batters and seven errors during the week.
Offensively, Valente and Teixeira each had three hits against Central.
This week, the team faces off with the Kimball Jaguars, hoping to put together some clean, solid games.
Hosting Central Catholic at Escalon on Tuesday, April 13 the JV boys lost by a 12-1 final in five innings.
“They one-hit us,” said head coach Ken Baptista. “Logan Anderson had a double in the first inning.”
The coach said his team did have some runners on in the early going without the benefit of hits but could not cash them in.
“We left guys on,” he said. “We hit into three double plays.”
Baptista said the young squad also made a lot of mental mistakes, not totally unexpected for this early in the campaign.
The boys are taking on Valley Oak League schools this year due to realignment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Thursday we were home and we played a lot better,” Baptista added. “It was a close game until the top of the seventh inning.”
Trailing just 5-2 entering the top of the seventh, that’s when things fell apart on the JV Cougars, allowing 11 runs in that frame. They eventually lost the game, 16-5.
Jackson Runnels got the start, going five-and-two-thirds innings, allowing five hits and striking out five. He was charged with five runs, three of them earned.
“We had seven hits as a team and after giving up all those runs in the top of the seventh, we came back and scored three in the bottom of the inning,” Baptista said.
Javier Gutierrez had three hits on the day, including a pair of doubles, while Logan Anderson had two hits.
This week’s action has the JV boys taking on Kimball, playing at home on April 20 and going on the road Thursday, April 22.
“We saw a lot of growth between Tuesday and Thursday,” the coach noted of this past week’s contests.
He said that gives him some hope that the squad – especially getting some players back from COVID quarantine – can start to settle in and hit their stride.
“Hopefully we can get back on track,” Baptista said.