Opening up Trans-Valley League play this past week, the varsity Escalon Cougars crafted a pair of wins on the baseball diamond.
“It wasn’t easy, in the first one, but we got the sweep,” said head coach Greg Largent.
Escalon hosted Riverbank in the league opener on Tuesday, March 19 and got the 4-3 victory.
The Cougars got on the board first, scoring a run with two outs in the first inning. Lucca Dutra reached on an error, Cole Gilbert singled and Dutra scored as Devin Roberson hit a ball that was mishandled in the field for an error.
Riverbank came back with two runs in the top of the second to take a lead, 2-1.
“Ty Harris started and was very good in the first inning, but he struggled in the second,” Largent said. “He hit a batter, issued three walks, he just couldn’t find it again after dominating in the first.”
Carson George came on in relief after the Bruins got the lead and the visitors added one more run in the third to go up 3-1.
Answering back with two runs in their half of the frame, Escalon tied the game 3-3 with a walk to Brad Hagglund, Dutra getting on with a fielder’s choice, then back-to-back RBI doubles from Gilbert and Roberson.
“In the fifth inning, Dutra doubled, went to third on a wild pitch, Devin Roberson came up with a sacrifice fly that proved to be the game-winning RBI,” explained Largent.
Roberson also had six put outs in right field during the contest. George went five-and-a-third innings in relief to get the win. Gilbert and Clayton Ferreira each had two hits in the game.
“Thursday at Riverbank it was a different story, we got a 12-1 victory,” Largent said.
The game went just five innings and Gilbert got the start on the mound. He went the distance, giving up just two hits and throwing 83 pitches.
Though he “didn’t have his best stuff,” Largent said, he got the win and saw his teammates provide plenty of run support.
“Brad Hagglund had a two-run single in the third to get us going, Bryce McPherrin had a double in the fifth but the big blow was a Lucca Dutra grand slam in the fifth inning,” Largent added.
Escalon got two in the first, three in the second, three in the fourth and four in the fifth. Riverbank’s lone run came in the second inning on a walk, a stolen base, wild pitch and a ground out.
“We took advantage of eight walks, we had seven hits,” said Largent.
Clay Evans had a good day for the Cougars as well, with a single and two runs scored.
Two wins went on the books for the junior varsity boys this week, as they defeated Riverbank at home and on the road. They got an 11-1 win on Tuesday, hosting the JV Bruins.
“We got an early lead and good pitching from Demetrius Teixeira,” said JV head coach Ken Baptista. “We got a big game from Evan Bava, he was 3-for-4 with an RBI, he had a single, a double and a triple”
Alex Guevara had three runs batted in, Teixeira went 2-for-3 with an RBI at the plate and went six innings on the mound, allowing just one hit and striking out 12.
Thursday on the road it was a 10-2 win, Giavanni Brunetti getting his first start on the mound. He went four innings, striking out eight while allowing just two hits. Orion Hoover pitched three innings of relief, striking out five and walking one.
Big hitter on the day was Cam Maruyama, who went 2-for-4 with four runs batted in and three runs scored.
“Our pitchers and hitters have been coming along, the pitchers have been doing a good job pitching to contact and trusting their defense,” Baptista noted. “Overall I’m pretty pleased; they’re starting to figure it out.”
With some rain returning to the forecast this week, the baseball boys are hoping for the best – they were slated to be at Ripon on Tuesday, March 26 after The Times went to press and will host the Indians in a Thursday afternoon game, 4 p.m., on March 28.
They were rained out on Saturday, March 23, when they were slated to play a non-league contest at Oakdale.