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Lady Cougar Softball Squads Split Contests
jv catcher
Catcher Marissa Gonzalez comes up ready to fire the ball down to third base in a pickoff attempt during the junior varsity softball non-league finale, hosting Beyer on Thursday. Escalon fell by a 9-6 decision. Marg Jackson/The Times

Each softball team – varsity and JV – had just one game on their schedule this past week. They had different results, the varsity winning their Trans-Valley League opener on the road, the JV losing their preseason finale on the home diamond.

The varsity girls went to Riverbank for a Friday, April 8 game to kick off league play, earning a 7-0 shutout win.

“Chardae (Hoskins) got the start and she turned in another no-hitter,” explained head coach Art Brooks. “She had nine strikeouts and three walks.”

The Lady Cougar defense was strong behind her, the coach added, never letting the host Lady Bruins mount much of a threat.

Escalon scored single runs in the first and sixth innings, added three in the third and two in the seventh.

“In the first, Mackenzie Duval doubled, Natalie Arnold moved her to third with a sacrifice bunt, then Molly Brown brought her in with an RBI single,” Brooks said, his team being efficient in getting the first run of the game on the board.

Third inning action saw Ashley Duval single, sister Mackenzie reach on an error and then came a double steal, followed by a fielder’s choice for Arnold. Hoskins then helped her own cause with a base hit and an RBI, Brown also was credited with an RBI in the inning.

“In the sixth inning, Natalie Arnold doubled and then Haylie Corriea drove her in with an RBI double,” Brooks said.

The visiting Lady Cougars added the pair of insurance runs in their final at-bat with back-to-back singles from Mackenzie Duval and Arnold, both moving up on a passed ball and Brown coming up with the timely base hit.

“Molly was 3-for-4 on the night with a double and four runs batted in,” Brooks said. “Mackenzie was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, Haylie Corriea was 2-for-3 with two doubles.”

Ashley Duval had a 2-for-3 day at the plate, with hits also from Arnold, Hoskins and Morgan Reider.

The girls will get to stay home for a pair of games this week, hosting Hughson today, Wednesday, April 13 at 4 p.m. and then welcoming Ripon to town for a Friday afternoon game, first pitch at 4 p.m.


Junior Varsity

The JV girls, meanwhile, were locked up in a tough battle against visiting Beyer on Thursday afternoon, April 7 and fell just a couple of runs short in the non-league finale. It was just the Escalon squad’s second loss of the preseason campaign, while their wins hit double digits for a 13-2 run through the early part of the season.

Final score was Beyer 9, Escalon 6. Kylee DuBois pitched four innings, with Bella Strach going three. Escalon got on the board with a two-RBI hit from Grace Fitzgerald in the second inning, scoring Lauren Trejo and Kiara Ancheta. Trejo had an RBI double on the day, Grace Stime and Fitzgerald keyed a seventh inning rally, each driving in a run in that frame.

“We had bases loaded with one out in the seventh when a caught line drive forced a double play,” said coach Malinda Walker. “It was close at the end, we had a rally going; time just wasn’t on our side.”

Walker added that the team will need to be focused and ready for TVL play this week, getting two home games, hosting Hughson today (April 13) and Ripon on Friday.

The JV girls will battle against Ripon, Hughson and Hilmar this season, as they are the only four TVL schools that field JV softball squads.