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First Game Victory For Varsity Baseball
Though both scheduled scrimmages for the first week of baseball season were rained out, the Escalon Cougars did get on the field for a Saturday game, played after dedication of the new scoreboard and naming of the Bob Loureiro Field.

The varsity squad fell behind the Linden Lions, 1-0, as the visitors pushed across a run in the top of the first but after that, it was all Escalon in an 11-1 win.

"We were very pleased with the outcome," said coach Greg Largent.

Starting pitcher Jimmy Zepeda went the distance, allowing just the first inning run and giving up one hit in six innings of work. He struck out nine, walked one and hit one batter.

"Right out of the gate he threw a one-hitter," Largent said.

Escalon allowed the one run in the first but answered back with two runs in the bottom of the frame, adding three in the third and six in the sixth. When they took the lead by 10, the game was called.

"We saw some real good things out of the guys," Largent said. "Nick Aprile swung the bat well in the three spot, Leighton Pangilinan was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and had a long home run in the third, a line drive homer to right center."

Also earning praise for his effort was Thomas Ray, who played well in the field and took advantage of the windy conditions to manufacture a run.

"Right after the home run, he hit a major league pop up to the infield and with the wind blowing, he ran it out," Largent explained. "Linden dropped it and he beat the throw to second, advanced on a ground out and scored on a passed ball."

Other big hits were RBI singles from Pangilinan, Ray, Aprile and Nick Largent, and a two-run double by Tony Gonzales. Escalon had 11 runs on 10 hits with two errors, the Lions scored a single run on one hit with four errors.

Largent said he was happy the team got a win for the inaugural game at the 'Bob Loureiro Field,' though there was a glitch in the scoreboard, when it shut down in the midst of the contest.

"They pressed the wrong button," he said of the scoreboard operators, who are still getting used to the new set up.

It was quickly restored, though, and action continued.

As far as the game, Largent said it was likely opening day jitters that led to the first inning miscues and Linden run.

"We were resilient," noted Largent. "We didn't let it bother us, we bounced right back."

Zepeda sailed along in the game until starting to tire a bit in the sixth, which is when he got into a jam. But, said his coach, he also got out of it.

"He gave up walks to the second and third place hitters," Largent explained. "Then Thomas Ray made a nice play on a line drive with the number four hitter at bat. Jimmy then struck out the next two to quiet their attempted rally."

Up 5-1 at that point, his teammates rallied to put the game away when they came to bat in the bottom of the sixth.

At the JV level, the Cougars and Lions used their contest as a controlled scrimmage, since neither team had gotten on the field for games yet this season, either.

Largent said the day, though blustery and cold and threatening rain, still came off well.

"We got it in," he said of the scoreboard/field dedication and game, adding he felt sure they would get rained out before the game was completed. "It was a special day for Bob. We're thrilled with the scoreboard and so is Bob."