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Perfect League Season For Varsity Baseball Cougars
Nick Warren, shown here in an earlier season home game, took the mound for the final regular season game of the year and picked up his 10th win of the campaign on May 10 in Hilmar. Marg Jackson/The Times

Closing out the regular season with a pair of games against Hilmar, the varsity Cougars baseball team compiled a perfect 12-0 Trans-Valley League record and celebrated Senior Day with a 6-0 shutout win on Tuesday, May 9.

“The seniors closed out their last game at home with a win,” Largent said. “Justice Naraghi got the start, he threw a complete game, allowed just two hits, struck out three and walked three.”

Senior Justin Miranda, in his first start of the season, got the Cougars on the board first as well.

In the bottom of the second, Zach Abraham walked and stole second, Jacob Alvarado moved him to third on a ground out and Miranda came through with an RBI single.

“That was his first hit of the year,” Largent said. “Justin is one of those guys behind the scenes that does a lot of things that go unnoticed but he is a great teammate, a great guy.”

Largent said all his teammates were happy for Miranda in notching his first hit and getting an RBI in the process.

In the third inning, Max Nicholas reached on a single and stole a base, coming around to score on a Lucca Dutra two-out RBI single. Fourth inning action saw Abraham reach on a walk and steal second. After an out and a pair of walks, Colton Lowney came up with an RBI single. Naraghi had an RBI single and Miranda collected his second run batted in of the day on a ground out in the fifth, with the Cougars using an error and a walk to set the table.

They added their final run of the day in the sixth, Nicholas getting on with a walk and stealing a base, then moving to third on a ground out. Parker Cosby drove him in with a sacrifice fly.

A Wednesday, May 10 game on the road at Hilmar had the same result – a Cougar victory – but it wasn’t an easy task.

“It was a 13-8 win but it was very ugly,” Largent explained.

The Cougars uncharacteristically got into trouble in the field, committing five errors in the bottom of the fourth inning that helped put five runs on the board for host Hilmar.

Escalon did take the lead in the first inning, with Lowney getting on with a single and moving to third on an error, scoring on a passed ball to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

“We had the bases loaded in the second but didn’t score,” added Largent.

In the third, Escalon pushed a couple more runs across, with Lowney and Cosby each hit by a pitch, Dutra getting on with a walk to load the bases.

“Naraghi had an RBI single and Abraham had an RBI ground out,” Largent said.

Hilmar answered back, though, with four straight hits and an error in the bottom of the inning, to trim the lead to 3-2.

“We scored six in the fourth, with two hit batters, two walks, a Naraghi RBI single, an Abraham RBI single,” Largent said.

After that, though, the trouble began.

“It was just one of those things, we committed five errors in the inning, they scored five runs, that made it 9-7,” said the coach.

Escalon was able to rally back, scoring fourth in the fifth, with Hilmar getting one final run in the bottom of the seventh for the 13-8 final score.

“Nick Warren got his tenth win,” Largent said. “They had 12 hits and, to Hilmar’s credit, they put the ball in play. They scored eight runs but only three of them were earned.”

Despite the one sloppy inning, Largent said the Cougar bats were able to make up for the on field issues and he’s hopeful that the team put the errors behind them.

“We were able to weather the storm,” the coach noted. “All season we have had good pitching and good defense, that’s what wins championships.”