Scoring nine runs in each of their first two Trans-Valley League games, the JV Cougar baseball boys defeated Riverbank 9-1 on March 29 and 9-4 on March 31.
“We were home against Riverbank on Wednesday, we had 12 hits that game, the bats came alive,” said head coach Ken Baptista.
Escalon scored four runs in the first to jump out to the early lead and then continued to tack on runs throughout the contest. Riverbank managed just one run.
Anthony LaRossa got the start for the Cougars, going six innings, striking out nine and allowing one run. He also helped his own cause with two runs batted in.
Carson George pitched the final inning, striking out all three batters he faced.
“Hunter VanBoven went 3-for-4 with a single, double, triple and a run batted in,” Baptista said of the offensive leader on the day. “Brad Hagglund was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI, Cole Gilbert was 2-for-3 with two runs batted in and a run scored.”
Sophomore Gilbert, after spending the preseason with the varsity, came back down to the JV level for the start of the league campaign.
Daniel Luis also notched a pair of runs batted in for Escalon, going 1-for-3 on the afternoon.
Friday, the team traveled to Riverbank and once again scored nine runs, rapping out 11 hits. The host JV Bruins did get more runs on the board on Friday, but not enough, as Escalon took the 9-4 win.
“Cole Gilbert went five innings, he had five strikeouts, allowed three runs and two hits,” Baptista said of his starting pitcher. “Roman Gonzales came on and finished it.”
Noah Rast had a great day offensively, driving in three runs with a 3-for-4 showing. LaRossa and VanBoven each went 2-for-4, LaRossa driving in three runs, VanBoven knocking in one and scoring three times.
Saturday, it was a road game at Linden for the JV boys, and they came away with a 12-2 loss.
“We gave up seven runs in the first inning,” said Baptista. “They were a good hitting team but we also helped them out with some errors.”
Rast got the start, going just two innings. He allowed nine runs, though just two were earned. Carson George came on in relief and pitched very well, Baptista added.
The game ended in the bottom of the sixth, as Linden won by the 10-run rule.
LaRossa had a double, Gilbert had a double and a pair of RBIs on the day.
A tough couple of games await the JV team now, as they travel to Ripon for a Wednesday, April 5 game and host the Indians in a 4 p.m. contest on Friday, April 7 in Escalon.