By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Defensive Struggles Hamper Varsity Cougars On Diamond
Junior Luke Anderson sends the pitch toward the plate during Wednesday afternoon action on the home field, hosting Sierra. The Cougars fell to the Timberwolves, 9-4, in the March 11 non-league contest. Marg Jackson/The Times

Another tough week for Escalon’s varsity baseball team saw the squad lose on the road at Downey and at home against Sierra.

The non-league contests were played Tuesday and Wednesday, March 10 and 11.

On the road Tuesday, it was a hard fought game against the host Downey Knights, with the Cougars coming up just a little short. They fell by a 3-2 final.

“We got one run in the first, took advantage of an error,” head coach Greg Largent said of starting off the game with a lead.

It was short-lived, though, as Downey scored two runs in the bottom of the first.

“We tied it up in the third, Dylan Ruiz was hit by a pitch, Clay Evans moved him over on a sacrifice bunt, and then Ethan Johnson had an RBI single,” Largent explained. “But we couldn’t get anything going offensively after that, we stranded 11 runners.”

Downey got the go ahead run – which turned out to be the winning run – in the bottom of the fourth.

Escalon had two runs on four hits and committed three errors on the day; Downey had three runs on four hits with one error.

Ruiz scored both runs for the Cougars in the loss, with Johnson, Noah Rast, Luke Anderson and Clayton Ferreira collecting the hits. Anderson and Evans had stolen bases.

Ty Harris got the start on the mound and went all six innings, throwing 81 pitches. He allowed one earned run while giving up four hits and striking out three.

Wednesday afternoon, on the home field, the Cougars faced off with the Sierra Timberwolves out of Manteca.

Largent said Luke Anderson got his first start of the season on the mound and pitched well, but fell victim to some errors committed behind him.

“We should have been out of the first inning with about 12 pitches,” Largent said. “He threw 29 pitches, we committed two errors in the first and Sierra scored three runs.”

Escalon got one run back in the bottom of the first; the Timberwolves added two more runs in the third, two in the fourth and two in the sixth while Escalon countered with three runs in the fifth. The final was 9-4 in favor of Sierra. The Timberwolves had 10 hits on the afternoon and played solid defense. Escalon did have nine hits but also committed five errors.

“That was probably our worst performance defensively,” admitted Largent. “We gave up five unearned runs.”

Anderson went four innings while Bryce McPherrin and Noah Rast each worked in relief. Rast had a strikeout and McPherrin notched two. Anderson struck out four and walked three.

Harris, Ruiz, Rast, Johnson, Anderson, Demetrius Teixeira and Cameron LoValvo all had single hits while Brad Hagglund added two. Teixeira drove in two runs, Anderson and LoValvo each had an RBI as well.

“The bright spot was to see us swing the bats well,” Largent noted.

Rast got on board with a single in the fifth, Johnson singled and then LoValvo came on as a pinch hitter, singling to drive in Rast. Teixeira followed with a pinch hit single of his own, driving in both Johnson and LoValvo.

Largent said that the team has been working hard but hasn’t yet put together a full game, where they are hitting on all cylinders both offensively and defensively. Now, the squad has to take a hiatus, as the San Joaquin County school system is shut down through at least April 6.

“Kids can’t practice, there aren’t any games … we are just hoping, especially for our seniors, that there will eventually be some kind of season,” Largent said.

After putting down the bunt, Escalon’s Brad Hagglund heads down the first base line during a home game against Sierra on Wednesday, March 11. Marg Jackson/The Times