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Busy Summer Baseball Season For Cougars
Adam Roberson takes a lead off first during action on Friday against Sonora at the Lee Hampson Tournament. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Times

Not missing a beat, Escalon’s varsity baseball team – and those players likely to be on the varsity squad next season – played a full schedule of games during June.

“We played 12 games, ended up 7-5,” said coach Greg Largent. “We got better; it’s a time to work on some things, experiment with some things, get the incoming varsity guys adapted to varsity pitching and the faster pace of the game.”

Most recent play saw the team participate in the 21-team Lee Hampson Tournament.

“This week we finished second in our pool and beat some quality teams along the way,” Largent said of the Hampson tourney play.

They topped Calaveras by a 13-2 final and the standout for that contest was Brandon Grogan, going 3-for-3 with a single, double off the wall and a long home run.

“The big game of the week, we beat Enochs 4-2 on Thursday,” Largent added. “Ben Hood threw a complete game, did some good summer pitching for us.”

Also solid were Kash Satnat at the plate and Luis Estrada did a good job in the clean-up position, said Largent. Garrett Denczek went 2-for-3 on the day in the win over Enochs.

Friday, the boys took on Sonora and this time, Grogan got the complete game victory, pitching out of some trouble and holding off a late Wildcat threat to nail down the 10-3 win.

“We saw some bright things and we learned a lot of things that we need to work on,” Largent said. “You learn a lot in a very short time.”

Satnat had a strong week in tournament play, while Largent pointed to the summer-long effort of Adam Roberson as being among the best on the team, playing some solid defense and contributing offensively.

The Escalon varsity squad will be young next year, with only three incoming seniors – Ben Hood, Luis Estrada and Owen Pangilinan – back for the team. But Largent said there is some talent and a desire to learn and improve.

Moises Murga did some good work on the mound this summer, the coach added, with Robbie Rickman also playing with the squad early in the summer. Late tournament action this week saw the young middle infield of Trevor Van Boven and Frankie Warren getting a good workout, both defensively and by providing some key hits, while Roberson showed a steady glove at first.

Saturday, the boys lost to Merced, seeing a 6-4 lead evaporate into a 7-6 loss.

“We didn’t really have a break, we went deep in the playoffs and then started the summer league,” Largent said of keeping the players busy.

The schedule should help the team, though, as they look to build some team unity.

This week, the ‘B’ team, primarily JV players, is taking part in the annual Bob Loureiro Tournament at Escalon High School.

“There are eight teams, two pools in the tourney,” Largent said.

Escalon, Oakdale, Ripon Christian and Gregori are on one side of the bracket; Linden, Beyer, Modesto and Enochs are on the other.

“We will have four games per day, Monday through Wednesday,” Largent explained. “Games are at 8:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.; Escalon plays the 4 p.m. game each day.”

Based on records in pool play, teams will be matched up for the final round games on Thursday, with the championship game pitting the top teams in each bracket against each for the tournament title at 4 p.m. on June 27.