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Escalon Athletes Gearing Up For Spring Sports Season
Sophomore Gregg Adams gets ready to send off the pitch in early inning action Saturday against Calaveras as shortstop Jackson Runnels gets into fielding position. The Cougars rallied for three runs in their final at bat but fell short to the visiting Redskins, 9-3, in the non-league game. Marg Jackson/The Times

With the last of the winter sports now concluded for the Escalon High School Cougars, the attention turns to the spring season.

Baseball, softball, co-ed tennis, boys golf and track and field will take center stage for the next few months.

Coaches for baseball include Greg Largent returning to lead the varsity program and Ken Baptista for the JV team. Assisting Largent at the varsity level are Bill Grogan, Harold Hood and Mark George, along with former players Matt Valencia and Ben Hood.

Returning for another season with the softball program are varsity head coach Jeff Borden and JV coach Amanda Vanderwall.

Escalon welcomes in a new tennis coach for the co-ed team this spring, Julianne Eavenson, while Dale Clayton has taken over as head coach for boys golf, after sharing coaching duties last season. Carrie Nash returns to lead the coaching crew for the track and field team, with assistants Paul Anserlian and Michael Bower.

On the baseball diamond, Trans-Valley League play will start on the road, Wednesday, March 16 at Ripon. The home-and-home series comes to Escalon for the second game with Ripon on Friday, March 18. Several non-league contests are scheduled prior to the TVL opener.

Two games were played this past week, with the varsity boys falling to Ceres by a 10-0 final on the road Friday, Feb. 25 and then taking a 9-3 loss at home to a talented Calaveras team on Saturday, Feb. 26.

“We only had two hits at Ceres, a single from Nico Franzia and an infield single by Josh Miller,” said head coach Greg Largent.

Sophomore Jamin Miller got the start and pitched three-and-two-thirds innings, though the team committed five errors behind him. Older brother Josh came in with the bases loaded in the fourth and got a one-pitch out to quell the Ceres threat in that frame.

JP Lial played strong defense at third base, said Largent.

Saturday, the team did collect eight hits and scored their three runs in the bottom of the seventh, rallying to avoid a shutout. Sophomore Gregg Adams was on the mound to start and pitched well, throwing strikes, though Calaveras did jump on several of the pitches.

Cam Ruiz paced the team with two hits including an RBI double.

The JV boys started their season with a pair of victories, with an 8-3 road win at Ceres, an 8-4 home win over Calaveras.

The softball girls took a 1-0 win over Central Catholic in non-league action Friday, Feb. 25 and will play in a couple of pre-season tournaments and a handful of games before starting Trans-Valley League play at Livingston on March 22. The girls open league play at home with a Thursday, March 24 contest hosting Hughson. The varsity softball girls played last season in the Valley Oak League as a result of COVID travel restrictions and took the league championship, though there was no postseason play. They are looking to get back to TVL competition this year.

Tennis players are scheduled to be at the Riverbank Doubles Tournament on Friday, March 4 and are scheduled to host Hughson in the TVL opener on Friday, March 18 at 3:30 p.m.

The golf boys are slated to play in the Yellow Jacket Invitational on Monday, March 7 at Turlock Golf and Country Club and then go to play Ripon Christian at Jack Tone. A series of league tournaments are scheduled for this season, starting with the Escalon Tournament at Oakdale Golf and Country Club on Thursday, March 17 at 1 p.m.

For the track and field athletes, they were slated to travel to Oakdale for a preseason scrimmage on March 2 after starting their conditioning in early February. The TVL Relays are set for Wednesday, March 16 with the Frosh/Soph Invite at Calaveras on Friday, March 18 and the first TVL competition, Escalon vs. Ripon on Wednesday, March 23.