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First Varsity Baseball Loss Comes Against Livingston
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After rattling off 14 straight wins, Escalon's varsity baseball boys tasted defeat on Wednesday, falling at home to Livingston. They rebounded with a solid effort at Hilmar on Friday, winning that game to stay on top of the Trans-Valley League standings.

"We suffered our first setback, 1-0," coach Greg Largent said of the Wednesday loss. "We didn't play particularly well and we could only manage three hits. We squandered opportunities on the basepaths."

Pitcher Peter Krumeich struck out 14 and allowed just four hits but took the loss. Escalon had two errors, Livingston had one. The lone run of the game came in the fourth inning, Livingston got a runner on with an infield single and he was bunted over to second. On a steal attempt of third, the runner made it in safely, then came in to score on an error on the next play.

"Ross Brayton had two of our hits, jam shots that just got out over the infield," said Largent. "Phil Parrish had an infield single and Peter hit the ball extremely hard, twice, but we couldn't get anything to fall."

With no runs on the day, the Cougars had their first loss in league play.

"That was our first setback after winning 14 straight and my thought was how are we going to react?" Largent said. "We came back with a 3-1 victory Friday at Hilmar, it was a game that took about one hour, 25 minutes, just an old-fashioned pitcher's duel."

The Hilmar pitcher kept the Cougars off balance most of the day, though they did connect for eight hits. This time, the Escalon boys played flawlessly in the field, while Hilmar had two errors and four hits.

Grant Goedhart got the start on the mound and pitched a complete game for the victory.

Escalon scored two runs in the third, one in the fourth and Hilmar countered with a single run in the seventh.

"In the third inning, Scott Sand singled and Justin Chandley hit a double down the left field line," Largent said.

With runners at second and third, Largent put them in motion and Sand was thrown out at the plate on a ground ball to second by Brian Beeman. He reached on the fielders choice and both Beeman and Chandley scored on a double by Parrish.

Fourth inning action saw Brayton clobber one, hitting it to the fence for a double. Krumeich put down a drag bunt along the third base line and Hilmar tried to get Brayton at third but the throw was wide and he came in to score on the error.

The split of games left Escalon at 8-1 in league and 16-4 overall. They were scheduled to play at home Monday, May 2 against Hughson to make up a rained out contest. They will be at Ripon Christian on Wednesday and host Ripon on Friday.

Largent said the loss in league play was probably a good thing, pushing the players to "go back to the drawing board" and focus again on fundamentals of the game.

"This week is huge," he added, noting that the Cougars want to win the league crown but have to stay focused on each opponent. "All the games are big now."