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Golfers Stay In Playing Shape Through Spring Break
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Even though they had no Trans-Valley League matches this week, due to Spring Break, the Escalon High boys golf team continued to work on their game nevertheless. On Monday they participated in the Albert Croce Memorial Golf Tournament at Lockeford Springs, and then played a non-league match at La Contenta Golf Course against Calaveras High School.

Using the Albert Croce Tournament as a tune-up for the league tournament in two weeks, the Cougar linksters walked away for the day with mixed results. Although they finished third behind a strong showing by both Bret Harte, the tournament champion, and TVL rival Ripon, coach Rusty Fachner was extremely pleased with the results.

"As a team, we played pretty well. Ricky Mullen and Adam Zolezzi had terrific days. Donovan Gardner and Jimmy Morris shot solid rounds. But we need to pick it up in one or two other positions. Still, a 423 as a team is a very good score."

Bret Harte won the tournament with a team score of 406, Ripon was second with a score of 421. Escalon was third at 423 followed by Linden, Calaveras and Hilmar. Individually for the Cougars, Adam Zolezzi paced the scoring with a 78. Ricky Mullen added a 79, Donovan Gardner carded an 84, and Jimmy Morris finished with an 88. Jeromy Jimenez (94) and Matt Jones (95) completed the scoring. One other thing also pleased Fachner.

"Ripon shot very well but needed some exceptional scores to do it. We were still only two strokes behind them at the end of the day, and we know that we can play better. I think our guys got a boost of confidence from that. I think it will really help us when we play Ripon head-to-head this week and when we play in the league tournament. Let's just put it this way...Ripon knows we can play well."

On Wednesday Escalon traveled to La Contenta to take on Calaveras, a team that sits in second place in the Mother Lode League, with an overall record of 10-2 going into the match. Add to this that Calaveras plays exceptionally well at home, and the Cougars knew they would have their hands full. But in the end, Escalon proved to be victorious 206-213, shooting their best 9-hole total as a team...and they needed every stroke. Zolezzi was once again the medalist, posting a one over par 36 for the day. Morris followed with a solid 38, and Matt Jones chipped in with a 41, his best score this season. Gardner added a 45 and Mullen a 46 to round out the scoring. According to Fachner, it was a good match in many ways.

"Not only did we score well as team, but the manner in which we did it was very pleasing. We got a great score from Matt and Jimmy, as well as the usual solid effort from Adam. Donovan and Ricky usually play better, but this is team golf and it was someone else's turn to pick them up. Ricky and Donovan have done it time and again for others, and now the tables were reversed. It's one of the reasons that we're successful this year. There's a new hero each and every match," Fachner said, "and it is tough matches like this that keep us tuned up for league matches."

As the league season gets back under way this week, the Cougar linksters face the biggest two weeks of the season. They need just one dual match victory to virtually wrap up the league title. They opened the week by playing in the prestigious Bulldog Invitational at Tracy Country Club on Monday, April 20. On Tuesday, Escalon was slated to face Modesto Christian at Modesto Muni and then close out the dual match season against Ripon at Spring Creek. The TVL season will end Tuesday, April 28 with the TVL League Tournament at Lake Don Pedro Golf Course.

"We know that we basically need one win to all but close the door on the championship. I think we're ready. The guys know what they need to do. But I also know how much they want to go undefeated. We'll see if they're up to the challenge," Fachner concluded.