Opening up their preseason campaign at home, the Escalon varsity baseball team crafted a pair of victories in their first two games.
They hosted Ceres on Friday, Feb. 23 and took a 9-0 win.
“The game was relatively close, it was 3-0 into the sixth inning, then we blew it open, scored six times in the sixth,” head coach Greg Largent said.
Escalon rapped out 13 hits on the day. Notching multiple hit games were Lucca Dutra, Zach Abraham, Paul Ayala and Estephan Salcedo.
“Dutra hit a home run in his first at bat, Max Nicholas had a two-run single in the sixth,” Largent said of the big hits on the afternoon.
The pitching was also solid for the home team in the opener.
“Colton Lowney got the start, he went six innings, allowed four hits and struck out five,” explained Largent. “Anthony LaRossa came on for the seventh, pitched one inning of relief for his varsity debut.”
Behind the pitchers, the defense was solid as Abraham made several strong plays at shortstop and the returning outfield of Max Nicholas, Tanner McCrary and Estephan Salcedo ran down several balls.
Saturday, the Cougars were back at it, hosting Calaveras on a sunny but chilly afternoon.
“It was a similar storyline, we were up 3-0, it was a pretty tight game,” Largent said.
Escalon then got another run to go up 4-0 and they broke through late to win the game by the same score as the day before, with a 9-0 final.
“We started off manufacturing a run in the first inning,” explained Largent. “Parker Cosby got on, stole second, Max advanced him with a ground and then Lucca drove him in with a sacrifice fly.”
That was a good start but the key was the fifth inning, when the Cougars pushed five runs across the plate, with the first five batters all reaching base. A two-run double by Cosby and a single by Salcedo were the big hits in the inning.
Cosby got the start on the mound, going six innings and allowing six hits while striking out five and walking none.
Paul Ayala pitched the seventh, allowing one hit and striking out one.
“Just like that, the season is underway,” Largent noted. “We’re carrying 17 kids, we have nine returners and some good experience coming up, we’re excited.”
Friday against Ceres, the JV Cougars won big, taking a 14-2 decision off the diamond in a game that went just five innings.
Returning as coach is Ken Baptista, who said a couple of players had standout games.
“Winning pitcher was Demetrius Teixeira, he went four innings, gave up two hits and had three strikeouts,” said Baptista. “Brad Hagglund was 4-for-4 with seven RBIs; he had two singles, two doubles, a run scored and a stolen base.”
Saturday, hosting Calaveras, the JV boys were up 11-8 but the wheels fell off as the visitors came to the plate for their final at bat.
“It didn’t end too well, we took a 15-11 loss,” the coach said.
Calaveras was able to score seven runs in their last at-bat, capitalizing on several walks, wild pitches and hit batters to push multiple runs across the plate. Escalon couldn’t answer back when they had a turn at the plate, falling to the visitors.
Hagglund went 1-for-4 and drove in three runs and scored three. Luke Anderson was 2-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored.
The varsity and JV teams are scheduled to play at Sierra on Wednesday, Feb. 28 and at Grace Davis on Friday, March 2. Games will start at 4 p.m., weather permitting.