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Cougar Bats Come Alive In Successful Tournament
Three wins and one loss in the Manteca Tournament gave the Escalon varsity baseball team second place honors, losing only to host school Manteca in the championship contest.

They played Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, sweeping their first three opponents.

Escalon got past Summerville, 4-3, on Monday and Loureiro Field served as one of the tournament sites, with the Cougars able to stay home for the first three games, though they were often considered the visitors in the tournament format.

Against Summerville, they were the home team and got on the board with one in the first, one in the third, one in the fifth and one in the seventh. Summerville had two in the fourth and one in the fifth.

In the first inning, Escalon got on the board on a couple of errors, Jake Caton getting on with an error, moving up on a Spencer Franceschetti bunt and scoring on an overthrow error. Franceschetti walked, stole second and scored on a passed ball in the third to make it 2-0, but Summerville tied it up with a couple of hits and and Escalon errors in the fourth.

A run by Summerville in the fifth gave them the lead, a solo home run by Leighton Pangilinan tied it up in the fifth.

"In the seventh inning, with one out, Nick Aprile walked, stole second, Leighton walked and they both moved up on a wild pitch," said coach Greg Largent. "Derrick DeFreitas was intentionally walked, then Thomas Ray came through with the RBI single to win the game."

Jake Winkler got the start on the mound, going four-and-a-third innings, allowing two runs and striking out six. Jon Whitesitt went an inning and two thirds, striking out two and Leighton Pangilinan was the winning pitcher, striking out two in his one inning of work. Escalon had four runs on six hits with two errors, Summerville had three runs on two hits with three errors.

Wednesday, taking on the Weston Ranch Cougars, Escalon was the visiting team and took a 9-2 victory off the field. They scored first, getting two in the third on RBI singles from Chris Smith and Pangilinan, adding a solo run in the fourth on a walk, a wild pitch and an error.

In the fourth, Weston Ranch got their two runs, coming up with a leadoff double followed by three consecutive singles.

That put runners at first and third with nobody out, two runs in. Starting pitcher John Lopez was relieved by Nick Largent, who got the next hitter to hit a comebacker, recording the out at home, followed by a strikeout and a ground out to end the threat.

Escalon got some insurance runs, adding two in the fifth on a two-run double by Ray and three in the sixth, with RBIs from Smith on a double, Josh Messersmith with a sacrifice fly and Pangilinan with a double. One more run crossed the plate in the seventh, Ray scoring after getting on with a walk, coming around on an error.

Largent was the winning pitcher, going four innings, striking out six and allowing one hit. Lopez went three innings, allowing two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Escalon had no errors, Weston Ranch had four.

Friday, the Cougars were the visitors in their game with Grace Davis, a contest they won 3-2.

"It was a very intense game, almost a playoff atmosphere, there was a big crowd," Largent explained.