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Cougars Claim Share Of TVL Baseball Crown
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Staying on top of the Trans-Valley League standings, the Cougar varsity boys put three more wins on the board this week.

They shut out Hughson on the home field Monday, 2-0; earned a come from behind 4-3 win at Ripon Christian on Wednesday; and closed out the week with a 4-0 win over Ripon on Friday.

On Monday, they got a strong pitching performance from Peter Krumeich and made the most of their offensive opportunities to take a 2-0 win.

"Peter went seven innings, he had 12 strikeouts," said coach Greg Largent. He walked three and allowed three hits but no runs.

In the first inning, Escalon got on the board with a walk to Brian Beeman and a sacrifice bunt from Phil Parrish moving him to second. Ross Brayton walked and Krumeich was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Jared August was hit by a pitch, driving in Beeman.

In the fifth inning, it was again Beeman getting things started, reaching on a walk and moving to second on another sacrifice bunt from Parrish. Brayton then notched a double to drive in Beeman.

"We managed only two hits on the day, Brayton's double and a double by Steve Largent in the second inning," said Largent. "Hughson threatened, they had the bases loaded with no outs in the sixth and Pete struck out the side."

On Wednesday, the Cougars traveled to Ripon Christian to face off with the Knights, who had only won one game so far this season. Escalon came perilously close to being their second victim.

"We played from behind all day," agreed Largent. "They were 1-15 overall going into the game, we didn't want to be win number two for them."

Ripon Christian jumped out with three runs in the first inning, taking advantage of four Escalon errors in that frame.

"That put us down 3-0 but we picked up a run in the second, third and fourth," said Largent. "It was a good old-fashioned game, but the weather was not very good, it was overcast and wet."

In the second inning, Largent reached on a single, August walked and both moved up on a sacrifice bunt from Scott Sand. After an out, Beeman singled to drive in Largent.

Third inning action saw Brayton single with one out, move to second on a passed ball and score on a single from Parrish.

The Cougars tied it up with a run in the fourth. August walked, Sand moved him over with the sacrifice bunt and Grant Goedhart came up with the RBI single. In the seventh inning, the Cougars took the lead, Brayton was hit by a pitch with one out and moved to second on a balk. Krumeich reached on an error that saw Brayton move to third and the squeeze play was on, Brayton coming in to score on a squeeze bunt from Parrish.

Joey Pinasco pitched six innings of two-hit ball, striking out three and walking two; Goedhart pitched the seventh inning and struck out two as the Cougars took the win.

"Even though we didn't play really well, we did some fundamental things, they did come around a bit this week," said Largent.

Parrish, Goedhart and Brayton each had two hits to pace the 10-hit attack.

Back on the home field Friday, it was a 4-0 win for the Cougars, jumping out on Ripon in the first inning.

Beeman singled and after one out, Brayton lined a single to right field on the hit and run. Beeman ended up on third and later scored on a fielders choice for the early 1-0 lead. In the fifth inning, Sand singled, Goedhart moved him up with a bunt, August went in as a pinch hitter and walked and Brayton's drive to right center brought two runs in. Krumeich then walked and Parrish singled to drive in the final run of the afternoon.

"They had the bases loaded in the third and Grant got the strikeout to end the threat," said Largent. "This was a real nice win for us, we got at least a share of the league title."

Livingston is two games behind the Cougars with two games to play; Escalon will be at Patterson on Wednesday and close out the regular season with a home game Friday, hosting Riverbank.

Goedhart went the distance against Ripon, striking out 10 and walking two while allowing four hits. Escalon had six hits on the day, including a 2-for-2 day from Brayton with a run scored and two RBI; 2-for-3 for Sand with a run scored.

Escalon is 19-4 overall, 11-1 in league and will be in the postseason, starting with a first round game on Saturday, May 21 at Zupo Field in Lodi.