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JV Baseball Boys Sweep Modesto Christian
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Another week of play equaled two more convincing wins for the Escalon High JV baseball team.

In a home and away series against Modesto Christian, the Cougars demolished their Trans-Valley League opponent 24-4 and 11-1. Both games were ended in the fifth inning due to the 10-run mercy rule.

At home on April 22, Escalon provided a glimpse of what was to come for MC, when they exploded in an eight-run first inning.

"We started off strong with some great hitting," said Escalon JV coach Travis Bartelink.

In a game where the Modesto Christian pitchers walked numerous batters - and hit a number of Cougars with pitches - Escalon tallied five runs in the second inning and another eight in the third.

Matt Valencia started the game, and Mike Stevens came in for the fifth inning to record the final outs.

"It was his first time pitching for us this season," Bartelink noted of Stevens. "It was a good opportunity to see someone new pitch, and he pitched well."

Gino Franceschetti was 1-for-2 for the Cougars with a double and 4 RBI. James Hill was 2-for-2 with a triple and 2 RBI; Logan Stewart was also 2-for-2 with 2 runs scored, while Trevor Doom was 1-for-2 with a run batted in and a double.

Asked how he keeps his squad focused when they gain such a big lead, Bartelink said his team just enjoys hitting the ball.

"At that point (with a large lead) we go base to base and station to station," Bartelink said of not advancing runners on steals. "But they just keep on hitting."

Bartelink said he also begins subbing in other players, usually beginning in the second or third inning in games where the Cougars post an insurmountable lead.

"Sometimes, I feel bad for the starters. They do so well, and then I pull them from the game."

Bartelink said these situations allow him to sub in and take a look at other players on his freshman-heavy squad who will play JV ball next year.

"It was a fun game. Everyone got in, and we played well."

On April 24, the Cougars traveled to MC, where they beat the Crusaders 11-1.

Brandon Shaw pitched the entire five innings, dominating Modesto Christian.

"He's a big time gamer for us," Bartelink said of his sophomore ace. "With Brandon on the mound, we felt pretty good about getting out of there in five (innings).

The Cougars scored four runs in the first inning, five in the second, and scored once each in the third and fourth innings, bringing the game to a close with another 10-run mercy rule victory.

Trey Balber went 3-for-3 with 3 RBI and 3 runs scored, and almost hit for the cycle with a triple, single, and double. It was the second time this season he was one at bat away from accomplishing this, as he was only a single away from the feat against Hughson.

"He's having a great season for us," Bartelink said of his frosh catcher. "Behind the plate, there's no one better in the league."

Jake Hood went 2-for-2, while Franceschetti was 2-for-4. Matt Roberson also had a triple and 2 RBI for the Cougars.

Bartelink was also pleased with the defensive play of Josh Vandagriff, who came in at catcher for Balber.

"He threw out a runner trying to steal third, and did a good job for us behind the plate," Bartelink said.

With two weeks left in the season, Escalon will play a two game series with Ripon High this week, and finish out with their final two games coming against Ripon Christian.