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JV Boys Split Games With Livingston, Hilmar
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Losing at home, the JV baseball boys then won on the road, splitting their Trans-Valley League games this week.

Wednesday, they hosted Livingston in threatening conditions, the sky looking as though it would open at any moment to unleash a downpour. The rain held off, but the young Cougars couldn't hold off the visiting Wolves, falling 5-3.

"Walks and errors played a major role," coach Steve French admitted of the loss. "Josh May started, he allowed five runs. He gave up only two hits but he had seven walks."

Livingston capitalized on the walks and used some Escalon errors to score three runs in the third. They opened up with a single run in the first, added the three spot in the third and then got one more run in the fourth.

Escalon came back with three runs in the sixth but didn't get any closer.

Chris Stocks reached on a double, then Brandon Collins got on with a walk. Garrett Hawkins went in as a pinch runner and a wild pitch moved both runners up.

"Thomas Ray then singled to drive in two runs," said French. "Jake Caton then doubled to drive in Ray."

Getting close, the Cougars also threatened in their final at-bat, getting some men aboard.

"We then hit into a game-ending double play," French explained. "It was disappointing, since we'd beaten them the first time."

Jake Winkler pitched three-and-a-third scoreless innings of relief, allowing just one hit.

At Hilmar on Friday, the JV boys regrouped and came away with the win, 7-4.

"After four innings, they had the lead, 4-1," said French. "They got two runs in on squeeze bunts and they stole five bases on us."

Jimmy Zepeda went the distance, giving up four runs - only one earned - on five hits. He struck out five and walked two.

Eddie DeFreitas had a solo home run in the fifth inning to get the Cougars to within 4-2 and in the sixth, they pulled ahead.

"We managed to come back, that's good," French said. "Ray reached on an error, Jake Loureiro singled, Anthony Rodriguez doubled to drive in a run."

Nick Aprile reached on an error and the JV squad scored two runs there, capitalizing on throwing errors by the Hilmar team.

Cory Severson then hit a long double down the right field line.

The visitors also got some insurance in the seventh inning, Brian French was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a wild pitch. He scored on Ray's double to give Escalon the three-run advantage.

"That makes us 4-4 in league, 10-8 overall," French said of the games.

This week, the boys will be busy, playing two regular games and a make-up of a rainout.

"We have three tough opponents and that will tax our pitching staff," French noted. "We have Hughson, Ripon Christian and Ripon, we'll see what happens."