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Cougars Put Two In Varsity Baseball Win Column
Outscoring their Riverbank opponents by a 20-2 margin in two games, both were victories for Escalon's varsity baseball team this past week. They were 9-1 winners at home on Wednesday, April 14 and defeated Riverbank on the road by an 11-1 final on Friday.

Hosting the Bruins on Wednesday, the host Cougars saw the visitors take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first but that was all they would get. Riverbank cashed in on a walk, a stolen base and a two out single to get on the board.

Escalon answered back in the bottom of the first with a double from Aaron Pangilinan followed by an RBI double from Nick Largent.

They added five runs in the second inning, with a single from Derrick DeFreitas, a walk to Trey Balber, Travis Cardoza reached on an error to load the bases and Matt Hudson worked out a walk to drive in a run. Josh Miguel then walked to drive in one more, Spencer Franceschetti ripped a two-run single and Pangilinan capped the scoring with an RBI ground out.

"We added three more in the fifth inning," said coach Greg Largent of getting some insurance runs late in the game.

With two outs in the fifth, singles from Cardoza and Hudson set up a two-RBI single from Miguel, then an RBI double from Franceschetti.

"We're hitting the ball really well, seeing it well right now," Largent said.

Production is solid up and down the line up, with everyone capable of getting on base and driving in runs.

Matt Valencia got the start against Riverbank and went five innings, scattering four hits, allowing one run and striking out 11. Nick Largent came on in relief and pitched the last two innings, allowing one hit and recording all six outs via strikeouts.

"We had 17 strikeouts combined, not too bad," Largent said. "We also played pretty good defense, that's a key for us, the pitchers are throwing strikes and letting the defense do their part."

Escalon had 10 hits on the day and made one error. Riverbank had two errors.

On Friday, the Cougars traveled to face the Bruins and the game went just five innings due to the 10-run rule in Escalon's 11-1 win.

Five runs in the first, one in the second and five in the third lifted the Cougars to the victory. Riverbank got one run in the fifth.

Miguel got on with a walk to start the game and Franceschetti sent one to dead center that would have been out of most parks in the league. He had to settle for a triple, with Miguel scoring. Pangilinan then ripped an RBI double, Largent was hit by a pitch, Patrick Mulry singled to drive in a run, DeFreitas was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Balber notched a sacrifice fly and Cardoza singled to drive in one more.

Franceschetti singled and moved up on a wild pitch in the second inning, with Largent driving him in with an RBI single.

In the third, a lead off single by Brandon Shaw was followed by a double from Miguel and an RBI ground out by Franceschetti. Pangilinan had a sacrifice fly and with two outs, Largent sent a solo homer to left center. Mulry was then hit by a pitch, DeFreitas singled, Balber crushed a ball to deep center, good for a two-RBI triple to round out the scoring.

Escalon had 11 runs on 12 hits with no errors. Riverbank had one run, one hit and one error.

"Justin Martinez pitched and he flirted with a no-hitter for a while, he went three-and-a-third before it was broken up in the fourth inning," Largent explained. "They (Riverbank) scored their lone run in the fifth, on two walks and a passed ball."

Martinez went five innings to get the win, with three walks, seven strikeouts, one hit and one unearned run.

"It was a nice game because I was able to get everybody some playing time," Largent said. "We got a nice pinch hit single from James Hill, a nice catch in right field by Matt Hudson, it was good to see those role players come in and do their job."

Largent was able to substitute throughout the game, eventually pulling some starters to get the bench players in.

"The starters had the chance to cheer for the guys that usually cheer for them," said Largent. "Everybody is chipping in and feeling a part, everyone is contributing."

The Cougars are now 6-1 in Trans-Valley League play, 14-2 overall. They are tied atop the league standings with Ripon Christian, which lost to Hughson, and will be at Hughson today, April 21 for a league game and host the Huskies on Friday, April 23.