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Four Shutout Wins For Varsity Softball Girls
Four wins in five games made for a successful week for Escalon's varsity softball girls, their only loss coming to Division I Bear Creek on Saturday.

The girls started the week off with a Tuesday afternoon trip to Oakdale and they shut out the host Lady Mustangs, 3-0 on a cold, blustery afternoon.

"We got one in the third, one in the fourth and one in the sixth," said coach Dianne Teixeira.

In the third, Shelise Hatfield singled, Tori Jones walked and Hatfield later scored on an error. Fourth inning action saw Lounette Jackson get on with a walk, followed by singles from Caitlin Brooks and Sam Lorigo to load the bases. Hatfield then walked to drive in a run. In the sixth inning, Brooks belted a home run. She also went the distance on the mound, striking out eight while allowing just two walks and one hit. Escalon had five hits total and Oakdale committed one error.

Two games on Thursday and two on Saturday were on the schedule for the girls in the Jackson Tournament, and they came away with second place honors.

They opened with a 5-0 win over Golden Sierra on Thursday, March 11.

"Caitlin faced 23 batters and had 17 strikeouts," Teixeira noted.

Escalon runs were scattered, with single tallies in the first, second and sixth, with two runs in the third.

An RBI single from Jackson drove home Rachel Frasier in the first, who had reached via a passed ball on a strikeout and moved up to second on another passed ball.

Singles from Katie Heflin and Taylor LaRossa, followed by an error, allowed Heflin to score in the second. Two errors, a walk, a steal and a Brooks RBI single accounted for two runs in the third, with two walks and a hit from Casey Schmidig putting the final run on the board in the sixth. Escalon had five runs on six hits and one error. Golden Sierra had no runs, no hits and three errors.

In game two on Thursday, the girls had no trouble against Rio Americano, shutting them out by a 15-0 verdict.

"Rachel and Caitlin both had home runs, Rachel was 2-for-3 with a homer and an RBI, Caitlin was 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI," said Teixeira. Escalon got one run in the first, two in the second, four in the third, seven in the fourth and one in the fifth.

In that game, Jackson went 3-for-4 with two singles and a double, Schmidig was 2-for-4 with a double and a single. Escalon rapped out a total of 14 hits. Rio Americano had just one hit and committed three errors. Brooks notched the win on the mound, striking out 15, allowing one hit and one walk.

No games were scheduled on Friday, but the girls were back on the road Saturday and shut out Mariposa in the opener, 7-0. Frasier went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a homer and an RBI, while Brooks was 2-for-3 with a run scored and a double.

Escalon had seven runs on eight hits with no errors. Mariposa had no runs, no hits and two errors.

Brooks retired 12 hitters on strikeouts. The three wins put Escalon into the championship game, where they faced off with Division IV Bear River.

"It's the third time in a row," Teixeira said of seeing them and falling by a 1-0 final.

"They had no one on base until the last inning," she added of Bear River.

With one out in the seventh, second baseman Schmidig made a nice diving stab of a sharp grounder to keep it in the infield but the runner made it to first safely. Runners advanced on a ball that glanced off an outfield glove and the winning run scored on a squeeze play, with the throw home just a bit late.

"We left six runners on base, had three hits, a walk and a batter hit by a pitch," Teixeira said. "We had runners on third a couple of times, we just could not get them home."

Escalon had three hits and one error; Bear River had just one hit but no errors in taking the 1-0 win.

Brooks had 14 strikeouts and allowed just one hit.

Despite the loss and allowing their first run of the tournament in the game against Bear River, Teixeira said the squad was upbeat and have put together a solid preseason.

"Overall everything is going well," she said.

The varsity girls open up league play at home Thursday, March 18 facing Ripon Christian.