Three games into the postseason, Escalon’s varsity softball girls were knocked out by Linden, falling in extra innings at Arnaiz Softball Complex on Friday evening.
Earlier in the week, they won one and lost one, setting up the game against Linden with the winner of that game moving on. Linden prevailed 5-4 in eight innings.
The Lady Cougars, who took second place in the Trans-Valley League behind rival Ripon, opened up the Division V playoffs on May 18 with a 4-2 victory over Summerville in a 5 p.m. contest at Arnaiz. Escalon went in as the three seed; Summerville was the number six seed. After the opening round win, they then had to come right back and take on the number two seed Marysville, which had topped seventh seed Riverbank 5-0 in their opening round game. Escalon lost to the Lady Indians by a tough 5-4 decision.
Head coach Art Brooks said the girls played well in the opener, earning the 4-2 win.
“We got one in the first, one in the second, two in the fourth,” Brooks said. “Summerville got one in the fifth on errors and one in the sixth on hits.”
In Escalon’s first at bat, Mackenzie Duval reached on a single and she was bunted over to second by Natalie Arnold, taking third on the throw. Chardae Hoskins drove in the run with an RBI ground out. Second inning scoring came on a Molly Brown double, a Hailie Webster single and then an RBI single from Ashley Duval.
Two more insurance runs for Escalon in the fourth, with Webster reaching on a single, Morgan Reider putting down a bunt, Ashley Duval doubling home Webster and Mackenzie Duval following with an RBI single.
That made it a 4-0 Escalon lead and they withstood the late rally by Summerville.
“Molly Brown got the start, she went all seven innings, allowed six hits, struck out four and walked one,” Brooks said.
For the game, Mackenzie Duval was 2-for-3 with an RBI, Ashley Duval 2-for-3 with a pair of runs batted in, Webster was 2-for-3, Hoskins was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Brown was 1-for-3.
With barely time to catch their breath, the girls faced Marysville and gave up four first inning runs, putting themselves into an early hole.
“Chardae was hitting her spots but they were seeing the ball well,” Brooks said of the sophomore Hoskins getting hit hard by the Marysville squad. “I changed pitchers, Molly came in and kept us in the game.”
Marysville led it 4-0 after one, Escalon cut the lead in half in the fourth inning.
Haylie Corriea doubled, Webster singled and then Reider ripped a two-RBI double to make it a 4-2 game. Escalon used an Ashley Duval single, Mackenzie Duval double and a hit by Hoskins to get back in the game in the fifth. Marysville then picked up a run in the sixth to make it 5-4.
Escalon threatened in the top of the seventh but had the potential tying run thrown out at the plate.
“It was a really fun game to be a part of and the girls left it all out there on the field,” said Brooks. “Molly gave us a chance to crawl back in it.”
Reider was 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs, Ashley Duval was 2-for-3, Mackenzie Duval was 2-for-4 and collecting hits were Hoskins, Webster, Brown and Corriea.
After a day to regroup on Thursday, the girls headed back to Arnaiz on a chilly, windy Friday afternoon to take on Linden, the four seed.
“We took a 5-4 loss in eight innings,” Brooks said. “We were up 4-3 in the fifth but between walks and errors, we let this game slip away.”
Linden got a run in the top of the second, Escalon countered with two of their own in that frame. Brown singled, Webster doubled her in and then Webster scored on a Reider RBI single. Linden went ahead with two in the fourth to go up 3-2, Escalon regained the lead in the bottom of that inning with an inside the park home run by Mackenzie Duval and an RBI single from Corriea, after Arnold reached on a walk and Hoksins singled, making it 4-3 Escalon. Linden cashed in on a throwing error in the top of the sixth to tie the score at 4-4.
“We had a chance to win it in the seventh, we had runners at first and second but then grounded into a double play,” Brooks said.
Linden got a leadoff single in the top of the eighth and saw that runner come around to score, then Escalon had a runner on with one out in the bottom of the inning but couldn’t get the run across, falling by the 5-4 final to end their season.
Hoskins went the first three innings and was replaced in the top of the fourth by Brown.
The varsity squad ended the season with an overall mark of 21-8.
“It was an outstanding season, this was a great group of girls, they had good chemistry and most of our starting line-up will be coming back,” Brooks explained. “I expect us to be really strong next year.”