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Cougars Rough Up Golden Sierra
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Rapping out 14 hits and scoring 13 runs, Escalon easily got past Golden Sierra in the opening round of the baseball playoffs on Saturday.

The Cougars traveled to Lodi's Zupo Field for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV contest and were not tested by Golden Sierra in the 13-4 rout.

"There was a lot of hitting and at one point we had a 10-0 lead, we just didn't hold it," said coach Bob Loureiro. "We didn't know what to expect, the Golden Empire League got rid of a lot of its larger schools and they just weren't as strong as we thought...we just overwhelmed this team."

Escalon scored a single run in the first, exploded for six in the third, then added some more padding with three runs in the fourth. That gave them a 10-0 lead but Golden Sierra answered back with four in the fifth to avoid losing by the 10-run rule in five innings.

That was all they would get against a trio of Cougar pitchers, however, and Escalon went on to add two runs in the sixth and a final tally in the seventh.

The Cougars combined a single, fielders choice, wild pitch and an RBI single for the first inning run. K.J. Vandagriff doubled home two runs in the third after runners got on with a two-base error and then back-to-back players hit by pitches. Brian Lynn then notched a three-run homer, followed by a Nate Williamson double and a Brian Beeman RBI single.

Fourth inning scoring saw another RBI double from Vandagriff and an RBI double from Williamson, while Anthony Suniga and Grant Goedhart added RBIs in the sixth. Pinch hitter Nick Brown got an RBI in the seventh.

"A lot of people played, I was pretty happy, we really came on," Loureiro pointed out. "Our kids really took it to them."

Zachary Swass got the start - and the win - on the mound, going four innings before running into a little bit of trouble in the fifth. He gave up two runs on six hits and was lifted for Goedhart in the fifth. Goedhart allowed two runs on three hits in his two innings of work, Peter Krumeich came on to pitch the final inning and struck out one while giving up three hits.

Golden Sierra put together two singles, took advantage of an Escalon error, then added two more singles in the fifth inning to get back in the game but were held to just that one opportunity to score.

"We made three double plays that helped pull us out of some jams," said Loureiro. "The good thing was we were able to clear the bench and get a lot of players in."

Offensive leaders were Vandagriff, with a 3-for-4 day, four runs scored and three RBIs with three doubles; Lynn with a homer and four RBIs; Williamson with a pair of doubles and a pair of runs scored.

With the win, the Cougars advanced and were slated to play Linden on Monday afternoon at 4 p.m., past sports press time for The Times.

"Regardless of that outcome, we will play Linden again on Tuesday at 4 p.m. and then it becomes a best two of three," Loureiro said.

Escalon improved to 21-6 with the easy win over Golden Sierra.