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Diamondmen Keep Ball Rolling
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With the Trans-Valley League title in their pocket, the Escalon varsity Cougars baseball team hit the road to start the playoffs on Saturday.

They got things started nicely, earning a 12-2 win over the number three seed team from the Golden Empire League, Marysville.

"We 10-runned them," said coach Greg Largent. "It was a nice start."

The game was played at Tony Zupo Field in Lodi with a noon start time and Escalon was the home team.

"After the top half of the first, we found ourselves down 1-0," he said. "We made an error in the first inning that led to a run."

It didn't take long to rectify that mistake, however.

With one out in the bottom of the first, Scott Sand singled and Ross Brayton singled. After the second out, Phil Parrish walked to load the bases.

"Steve Largent came up and hit a slicing line drive that went for a double and drove in two runs."

Jared August followed with a two-run single to give the Cougars a 4-1 lead after one inning. They kept the offensive pressure on all day, said Largent, rapping out 17 total hits.

They added four more runs in the second inning, starting with a one-out walk to Brian Beeman. He moved to second on a passed ball and went to third on an error. Sand singled to drive him in, Brayton then doubled in Sand. Peter Krumeich singled and Parrish singled to drive in Brayton and Krumeich.

"They answered with a run in the third but in the fourth, Brayton doubled for us with two outs and Largent singled to drive him in," explained the coach.

That made it 9-2 in favor of Escalon and the Cougars put the game away in the bottom of the fifth inning with a three-run uprising.

Krumeich got the win, pitching five innings.

"He started and really didn't have total command," Largent said. "I think the heat got to him a little bit, we went from rain early in the week to 90 degrees on Saturday."

With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Beeman doubled and Sand singled to drive him in. Brayton singled and Krumeich singled to drive in a run. Parrish then singled to load the bases and Largent was hit by a pitch, driving in the ultimate winning run, the Cougars taking a 10-run lead.

The game was called since the home team had that lead after five innings.

Escalon was scheduled to play Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. against Pioneer of Woodland, the number two seed in the Golden Empire League. That starts the best two-out-of-three series with game two - and three if necessary - starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 24 in Lodi.

"They played before us so we got up there early and watched them," Largent said of scouting the Pioneer team. "They beat Amador in the first round."

Winner of the Escalon-Pioneer series will move on to the championship game, Monday, May 30.

With the win over Marysville, the Cougars improved to 22-4 overall and have the first pair of 10-game winners in school history on the pitching staff in the same season.

"That was Pete's 10th win, he's 10-1 now and Goody (Grant Goedhart) is already 10-0," Largent pointed out.