It was “pretty much the same story” this week for Escalon’s varsity baseball team, said head coach Greg Largent, as they gave up too many runs and scored too few.
The end result was a pair of losses in league play to Manteca, and a non-league loss under the lights to Big Valley Christian in Modesto.
“Unfortunately we played some ugly baseball again,” Largent admitted. “We started the week with a 17-4 loss to Manteca at home Tuesday.”
The April 27 contest saw Escalon give up five runs to the visiting Buffaloes in the first, as they had a tough time throwing strikes.
“We walked 13, hit two … you just can’t give 15 free bases,” Largent added.
Four different pitchers took the mound for the varsity Cougars, starting with Mark Valente, who went two innings. Alex Guevara came on in relief and went four innings, doing well after he settled in and started throwing strikes. Orion Hoover and Bryce McPherrin also pitched on the afternoon.
“We did rally in the fifth, we got a leadoff double from Demetrius Teixeira, a pinch hit RBI single from Evan Bava, a single from Cam Ruiz and a pinch hit double from Pablo Macias,” said Largent.
However, after scoring three in that frame, the Cougars left the bases loaded and could not push any more across the plate.
Their fourth run came on a succession of walks and a wild pitch, Ruiz getting the RBI with a bases loaded walk.
The Cougars had five hits, four of them in the rally inning.
Thursday on the road at Manteca, Escalon took a short-lived lead.
“We scored a run in the first, with two outs, Luke Anderson doubled, then scored on an error, a ball hit sharply from Teixeira that was thrown away,” explained Largent. “They tied it up in the bottom of the second and took the lead with three in the third; we never mounted a threat after that.”
The final score was 10-1 in favor of Manteca.
“We had four hits, we hit the ball better, but they made some nice plays,” Largent said of the Manteca defense.
Ty Harris got the start, going four-and two-thirds, giving up nine runs. Five runs were earned, and the Cougars committed four errors.
Gio Brunetti on in relief and allowed just one run.
Friday night the varsity squad traveled to Big Valley, playing under the lights.
Escalon fell behind in the first, as Big Valley scored two, then added a run in the third to go up 3-0.
In the Cougar fourth, with one out, Anderson doubled, Teixeira walked, Valente walked and McPherrin reached on an error that scored two, cutting the Big Valley lead to 3-2. Big Valley then added a run in the fourth, leading 4-2.
“We had a four-run fifth; it was a bright spot, we had five straight hits, took the lead 6-4,” said Largent.
The rally featured a Ruiz double, a Harris RBI single, a single by Josh Miller, an RBI double by Anderson and a three-RBI triple by Teixeira.
A wind-aided foul ball that blew back fair opened the doors for a three-run rally for Big Valley Christian in the bottom of the fifth, taking the lead 7-6 and home team then added eight runs in the sixth, taking advantage of five walks, a triple and two singles to extend the lead to 15-6.
A three-run rally in the seventh for Escalon saw Luke Anderson just missing a two-run homer, settling for a double, with a pinch hit RBI single from Bava and an error that allowed another run to score, with the final score 15-9 in favor of Big Valley.
“We did have 11 hits and we put the ball in play a little bit more, so there were some bright spots,” Largent said.
The Cougars were scheduled to play at Oakdale on May 4 and host the Mustangs on May 6, then have a Saturday morning game at Linden.
Former Cougars players turned coaches will be part of the week, with Robbie Steves working with the Oakdale JV team and Gino Franceschetti now the head varsity coach at Linden.
Two losses went on the books for the JV baseball boys, facing off with Manteca in Valley Oak League action.
They lost at home Tuesday, April 27 by an 11-10 final. The host JV Cougars had 12 hits on the day, compared to 10 for Manteca but Escalon also committed five errors while Manteca had just one. Manteca scored runs in every inning but the fifth and Escalon put three runs on the board in their last at bat to get within a run, but fell just short.
Javier Gutierrez, Colton Page and Logan Anderson had two hits apiece in the loss while Anderson, Jamin Miller, Jackson Runnells and Greg Adams each had a pair of RBIs.
Wyatt Cox, Runnells and Adams did the pitching.
Thursday, Manteca again scored 11 runs but this time Escalon managed just a single tally, falling on the road by an 11-1 decision. The JV Cougars were handcuffed, collecting just two hits, both by Runnells.