It was an up and down week for the Escalon High School boy’s golf team. While they won an important Trans-Valley League match against Modesto Christian, they dropped a non-league encounter with the Mother Lode League-leading Calaveras Redskins.
“The match against MC was much more important from a league standpoint,” Coach Rusty Fachner noted. “But it would have been nice to knock off the lead dog in another league. It really would have been a help to us, confidence-wise, when we get to Sections. Even at that it was a good experience for our team.”
Tuesday’s match against Modesto Christian, which the Cougars won by a score of 213-221, was much closer than the final score indicated. Playing at Modesto Muni on April 15, the Crusaders played one of their best matches of the year and caused the Purple and Gold to sweat out the final result.
“Going into the final foursome, we were down by four strokes,” commented Fachner. “This time it was the final group that bailed us out. Zach Gardner and Brandan Trammell were huge when we needed them to be. It was really encouraging.”
Gardner shot one of his best rounds carding a 43 on the day, while Trammel added a solid 44. Lane Cadell continued to lead the Escalon charges firing a team-low 40. Nolan Sarkozy also shot one his best rounds checking in with a 42. Jared Wall also added a 44 and Nick Toy completed the scoring with a 46. Fachner stated that ‘team golf’ was the key to the victory.
“The idea of ‘team golf’ is simple. You grind as hard as you can to save as many strokes as possible. You do it for the team and put your own score on the back burner. Sometimes the top players struggle and someone needs to pick them up,” explained Fachner. “That was the case with Zach and Brandan against MC. It was great to see.”
Wednesday’s match against Calaveras didn’t go according to plan, as the Escalon linksters dropped a 203-219 decision at La Contenta, but the Cougars still made the day a productive one.
“Our players needed to work on some aspects of their game that was lacking,” said Fachner. “This match gave us that opportunity. I was more concerned about ironing out problems and preparing for the playoffs, than I was us winning. Calaveras is a terrific squad, and they’re exceptionally tough at home. It was going to be a difficult task to beat them, but we still gave them a run.”
Cadell continued his exceptional play with a 39 to lead the way. Wall and Trammell were solid, carding 43’s while Toy once again came in at 46. Sarkozy’s 48 and Gardner’s 59 completed the scoring.
“Perhaps the best thing to come out of this match was the idea that we have to control ourselves when things go ‘south’. We’re learning that we can’t let the game get away from us. That’s a big step in shooting better golf and it’s something we’ll need to know in the future,” Fachner explained.
On Monday, the Cougar JV squad played Ripon in a head-to-head match and walked away with a 175-175 tie against the Indians. The Escalon squad was eventually declared the winner by virtue of having the better team scores on the #1 handicap hole.
“I am very proud of these guys,” commented Fachner. “They have really improved and they’re starting to get the idea of what competing in golf is all about. They’re finding it’s a lot tougher to play kids from other schools than it is to play with Dad and Grandpa on the weekend.”
Tim Wallace continued his stellar play by shooting another 39. Fachner noted that he has had the low round in every JV match he has played in this season. John Beaver was another pleasant surprise as he shot 41 for his personal best. Dominic Brumley added a 43 and Brandon Levin finished with a 52.
“John and Dom did a great job. They’ve really improved and are starting to do some really good things on the course. I think it’s a credit to all four of these guys that they’ve put in the hard work, they’ve tried new things, and most importantly, they’ve listened to instruction and implemented it. If they continue to work this hard in the summer and off-season, they can really help us in the next year or two on the varsity level,” Fachner concluded.