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Cougars Edge Past Ripon In TVL Pair
Looking to slide in safely to third on a steal attempt, Escalons Brandon Grogan is about to be met at the bag by Ripons Nick Price, waiting to make the tag. JONAMAR JACINTO/The Times


Two games with Ripon both went in the win column for Escalon’s varsity baseball boys this week.

“It was a positive week; we got two one-run wins. There was carryover from football and basketball and anytime you win against Ripon, it’s good,” said Escalon head coach Greg Largent.

Tuesday’s game started off the week with the Cougars on the road for the March 24 contest, taking a 3-2 win in eight innings.

Kash Satnat drove in the first run for Escalon in the fourth to go up 1-0 and the visitors went up 2-0 in the sixth, with a run scoring when a hard grounder to third by Robby Rickman was booted, allowing a run to score. Ripon scored single runs in the sixth and seventh to force the extra frame.

In the eighth, Brandon Grogan got on with a walk and moved to second on a passed ball, with Garrett Denczek driving him in with an RBI single.

In the bottom of the eighth, Ripon threatened with a hit batter, a bunt (with the runner out at second) and two singles loading the bases. But Rickman, on the mound, kept his cool and induced two fly ball outs to secure the win.

“He did a great job,” Largent said of his starting pitcher, who went the distance. “He had six strikeouts, threw 121 pitches.”

Escalon had just four hits but made them count, getting the victory.

Thursday, they hosted Ripon and this one didn’t go extra innings, but the Cougars did get a walk off win in the bottom of the seventh, 10-9.

Christian Fernandez, a left-hander, got the start on the mound and the game was back and forth, Escalon leading early 1-0 and Ripon tying it up. In the bottom of the second, Escalon got three runs to go up 4-1, Ripon answered with two to trim the lead to 4-3 in the third. The Cougars answered back, scoring three more in their half of the third to lead 7-3 but a three-run homer keyed a four-run rally for Ripon in the fourth, tying it 7-7.

A pinch hit RBI single by Trevor Van Boven in the fifth made it 8-7 Escalon. Ripon scored a pair in the sixth to regain the lead, 9-8. In the bottom of the sixth, Logan Widmer got on base with a pinch hit walk and came around to score on a Rickman single to knot the game at 9-9.

Escalon held Ripon scoreless in the top of the seventh inning, setting the stage for the final at-bat heroics.

“In the bottom of the seventh, JoJo Dutra got on with a walk, Demetrio Perez moved him over with a sacrifice bunt,” explained Largent. “Kash Satnat lined out, hard, to centerfield and then we got an RBI single from Garrett Denczek and the dogpile was on.”

It was Denczek’s second game-winning RBI of the week and it was also a game where everyone contributed, with players coming in off the bench to get on base and drive in runs.

“It was a crazy day,” agreed Largent. “We did all the little things right, we had four perfect sacrifice bunts, a sacrifice fly, the bench contributed, we had Roby (Adam Roberson) back with us and he played great defense at first base.”

Fernandez did well in his first start and Jackson Bennett pitched well in relief, the coach added. Kevin Gregorio had a double and single, freshman Colton Lowney added a walk and a sacrifice fly, Dustin Lawrence and Caleb Mullen had singles.

“Everybody contributed,” Largent said. “This was a nice team win.”

Escalon, now at 4-2 in Trans-Valley League play and 8-4-1 overall, were scheduled to host Hilmar on Tuesday, March 31 after The Times went to press and will be on the road Thursday at Hilmar. They will play next Monday and Tuesday in the Mark Dickens Memorial Tournament put on by Oakdale, hosting some games in Escalon on Monday, playing Tokay at 9:30 a.m. on April 6 and taking on Spanish Springs at 2:30 p.m.