Getting off on the right foot in Trans-Valley League play, the Escalon Cougars varsity baseball team defeated Riverbank in a pair of contests this week.
They traveled to neighboring Riverbank first, in a Tuesday, April 5 contest to open up the TVL campaign.
“Robby Rickman took a no hitter into the sixth inning, then they got a one-out double,” head coach Greg Largent said of the performance from his starting pitcher against the host Bruins. “We played great defense behind him.”
Key defensive plays came at crucial times from Justice Naraghi and Zack Abraham and the offense was clicking, as the Cougars crafted an 11-0 victory.
“We had 14 hits,” said Largent. “Everybody contributed, this was a nice win.”
Rickman went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs batted in, Brian Warren in the number eight slot went 3-for-4 and Justice Naraghi, the number nine hitter, was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs.
“The bottom of the order got it done,” Largent agreed.
Completing the two-game series on Thursday afternoon in Escalon, this time it was a 10-0 win for the varsity squad.
“Riverbank made five errors and we were able to cash in on some of them,” Largent noted. “Jackson Bennett pitched and he did a great job, he pitched to contact, he had six strikeouts and no walks.”
Bennett and the defensive corps behind him were also able to get out of a couple of jams, including a bases loaded situation in the fifth inning with no Riverbank runners crossing the plate and the Bruins kept off the scoreboard in the third when they had runners at second and third.
“We only had eight hits on the day,” added Largent, noting that they were timely and did some damage. “Trevor Van Boven had a two-run single, Justice Naraghi had a two-run single.”
Up 9-0 and getting out of the jam in the top of the fifth, the Cougars ended the game in the bottom of that frame, pushing the 10th run across and winning via the 10-run rule.
“Dylan Azevedo walked and then after two quick outs, Zack Abraham was hit by a pitch, Robby Rickman reached on an error,” Largent said, which loaded the bases for the Cougars. “Pinch-hitter Jake Alvarado then drew a walk and got the RBI.”
Azevedo crossed the plate with the final run.
“It was a fun week to get everybody in, everybody got some playing time,” Largent said.
The Cougars were also glad to take both wins, and a little momentum, into this week. They face off twice with Ripon, with the Indians and Cougars likely to battle for the TVL title.
“There are big implications this week,” Largent said. “It’s always a big game with Ripon, no matter the sport.”
The teams have battled on the gridiron and the basketball court already this school year and Largent anticipates no shortage of emotion on the diamond this week. They were scheduled to host the Indians on Tuesday, April 12 after The Times went to press and go on the road to Ripon for a Thursday, April 14 contest.