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Final Two League Games Big Wins For Varsity Cougars
Scoring in double digits in both games this week, the Escalon varsity boys completed a perfect 12-0 run to the Trans-Valley League championship.

They shut down host Modesto Christian on the road Tuesday, May 10 and then hosted the Crusaders and took a decisive win on Wednesday, May 11.

At MC on Tuesday, it was a 13-1 final, with five runs in the fourth the big blow for the Cougars.

"We were able to score two in the first," head coach Greg Largent said of getting on the board early.

The team got a leadoff bunt single from Josh Miguel, who then stole second. Patrick Mulry notched a one-out RBI double to drive Miguel in and then he came in to score on an Aaron Pangilinan RBI single.

The five-run fourth saw Mulry reach on an error and advance to second on a passed ball. Matt Valencia notched an RBI single with one out, then Robbie Steves got on with an error. After the second out, Brandon Shaw walked to load the bases and James Hill singled one run in. Miguel followed with a two-run single, Gino Franceschetti reached on an error that allowed a run to score for a 7-0 Escalon lead.

"Modesto Christian got a single run in the fourth," Largent said. "Aaron Pangilinan got the start, he pitched five innings, gave up four hits and struck out seven."

The Crusaders run was unearned.

Up 7-1 after four, the Cougars put two more on the board in the fifth, starting with a double off the wall from Pangilinan, a ball that likely would have gone for a home run anywhere else in the league.

He moved to third on a passed ball and scored on an RBI ground out by Valencia. Steves singled and Trey Balber then drilled an RBI double.

"We added four more in the sixth, Miguel was hit by a pitch, Franceschetti singled, Mulry reached on an error," Largent explained. "Aaron then had a sacrifice fly, Matt Valencia had an RBI single and Matt Roberson came up with a two-run single."

Escalon had 13 runs on 11 hits with one error. Modesto Christian had one run on four hits with six errors.

Brent Montgomery, up from the JV team, pitched the final inning and got a ground out and a pop up before walking a batter.

"For some reason, down 13-1, they sent the runner," Largent said of Modesto Christian. "Trey Balber fired a strike to second, Miguel put the tag down and we caught the runner trying to steal."

For the game, Miguel and Pangilinan were each 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI; Valencia was 2-for-4; Roberson, two RBI; Balber and Mulry each had a double.

"It was nice to get a win over there, the wind always seem to be blowing in and this was the biggest margin we've won by," Largent said of playing at MC. "It was also nice to get Brent some work, he did a good job."

Wednesday, the team honored seniors James Hill, Brandon Shaw and Aaron Pangilinan and did it with a 10-0 win. Shaw got the start and threw a complete game two-hitter, striking out seven and walking two.

Escalon got one run it the first, Franceschetti reaching with a one out walk, stealing second, moving to third on a Mulry single and scoring on a Valencia single.

"In the second, we put a very crooked number up there, nine, everyone in the starting line up scored and we sent 12 batters to the plate," Largent explained.

Hits in the inning belonged to Steves, a single and an RBI single; Shaw, bunt single; Hill, RBI single; Miguel, Franceschetti, singles; Mulry and Valencia, 2-run singles; Pangilinan and Balber, RBI singles.

"We had nine straight hits," Largent said.

The Crusaders hung tough and mounted a threat in the fourth with a leadoff double and a steal of third. On the steal attempt, the throw went down the left field line so the runner tried to make it home. Roberson came in from left to throw home to Balber, who used a sweep tag to try and get the runner. The ball came loose but the runner also missed the plate and pitcher Shaw, backing up the throw, tossed it to Balber. He applied the tag before the MC player could touch the plate, recording the out.

"Just a normal 7-2-1-2 put out," Largent said with a chuckle.

The game also gave Largent a chance to get everyone in, with JV call-ups Kimble at short late in the game, Nathan Chunn at second and Ben Hood in center field. Josh Vandagriff saw playing time in left late in the game, Roberson moved to third and Ben Sipes did the catching.

"It was nice to get all the guys into the game," said Largent.

The sweep of MC kept the Cougars perfect in league play and TVL champions once again. They will start their quest for a Section crown on Wednesday, May 18 at 4 p.m. in Lodi at Tony Zupo Field.

They will take on the winner of the 'play in' game, between Mother Lode League No. 3 Bret Harte and Golden Empire League No. 3 Lindhurst.

The squad is eager to start the second season, the coach noted.

"The kids are focused," Largent said.

To get to Tony Zupo Field, take Highway 99 North, take the Turner Road exit, Lodi, and go west over the overpass. Take a left on Stockton Street, another left on Lawrence, and the field will be at the corner of Lawrence and Washington streets.