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League Split Keeps Lady Cougars In Running For Playoffs
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After being shut out on the road Tuesday, the varsity Lady Cougars regrouped and handed Riverbank a setback Thursday, improving their league mark to 10-3 in Trans-Valley League play.

"All three Patterson runs scored in the fifth inning," coach Dianne Teixeira said of the Tuesday action. "There was a walk, an error, a bunt for a force out, an error that allowed a run to score, then a liner to the outfield that fell in."

Escalon had three hits and three errors on the day, Patterson also had three hits and three errors. But the Lady Cougars couldn't push any runs across and suffered the league loss.

Nicky Brown pitched all six innings, striking out three while walking one.

Only hits of the day came from Amber Wood, 2-for-3 with a single and a double, Erica Bogar with a single. Melissa Nickas had a stolen base.

Thursday, the girls were at home and hosted Riverbank, shutting out the Lady Bruins by an 8-0 verdict.

"Last time we played them, we won 1-0 and they wanted to prove that was lucky," Teixeira said, noting that her girls poured it on, rapping out 10 hits.

The afternoon did have a pall over it, however, with the school in the midst of the two-day 'Every 15 Minutes' program and leftfielder Amber Wood among those involved. She was not available for the game and the players also had to contend with a mock graveyard and a display of two mangled vehicles - used in the accident scenario earlier in the day of which Wood was a part - just outside the fence down the first base line.

"They were affected by it, when I came into the locker room, they were all talking about it," Teixeira said of the program. "We tried not to look over at the scene, they were focused."

Brown went the distance, tossing a no hitter and allowing no runs while striking out six. She did issue one walk.

Escalon scored two runs in the first, four in the fourth, one each in the fifth and sixth innings.

Nickas singled and stole second to get the team going in the bottom of the first, Shannon Krein singled, Mandy San Julian singled to drive in a run and Bogar singled to drive in another. Key hit in the four-run fourth inning came from Missy Cullum, a two-RBI double. Krein drove in a run on a force out, another scored on an error.

Amanda Ainsworth drove in a run with a ground out in the fifth, Brown doubled to drive home a run in the sixth.

Cullum paced the overall effort with a 2-for-4 afternoon with two runs scored, two RBIs and a double.

The Lady Cougars were slated to host Hughson on Tuesday, May 18 after The Times went to press, both teams battling for the right to go to the playoffs.

"We have to beat Hughson by more than two runs, if they win or lose by one, they're in, if we win by two runs or more, we go," Teixeira said.

The game was also scheduled to feature honors for the outgoing senior girls in their final home game.

The girls went into the contest with an overall record of 20-6 for the season.