Escalon’s varsity softball girls kicked off their postseason run with an efficient 5-0 shutout of Calaveras to reach the second round, but then dropped a pair of shutout losses to end their season.
Facing off with the top seed from the Mother Lode League – Calaveras ? in the Thursday, May 16 Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs, the squad got a top notch pitching performance from senior Marissa Dominguez and solid defense.
“We scored one run in the third, two in the fifth and two in the sixth,” said coach Art Brooks of the offense, which provided more than enough cushion for the senior hurler.
In the third inning, Kristin Beckman got on with a double and she came home on a hit from Anastasia Rodriguez.
Fifth inning action saw Lexi Prim double, Beckman drive her in and then move up on a hit by Ashley Schuurman. Beckman then scored on a Calaveras error to make it 3-0. Putting the capper on it in the sixth, Dominguez singled, Prim reached on an error and Beckman knocked both insurance runs home with a double.
“Beckman was 4-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored,” Brooks said. “Lexi was 1-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, Ashley, Anastasia, Illiana Cajias and Marissa all had hits as well.”
Dominguez had 13 strikeouts on the mound and kept Calaveras off balance throughout the contest.
The girls had to come back and play a second game on Thursday, this one a 7 p.m. contest against the Golden Empire League No. 1 seed, Marysville, which had dispatched TVL No. 2 seed Ripon in their opener.
“We kind of fell asleep, I think we spent all our energy on game one and we came out flat,” Brooks admitted. “Marysville scored three runs in the first against us and that kind of put a damper on it.”
Marysville added a single run in the second and one in the fifth and ended up taking the game by a 5-0 final, as Escalon couldn’t find a way to push a run across the plate.
“We had four hits, their pitcher just kept us off balance,” Brooks explained.
Collecting the Lady Cougar hits were Nicole Bianchi, 2-for-2, Prim and Rodriguez. Dominguez went the first five innings, Schuurman came on in relief in the sixth.
Friday, the Lady Cougars went into battle against Linden, with a chance to still move on in the bracket, but again couldn’t get the offense on track, falling 3-0.
“It was a pretty decent game for the most part,” Brooks said. “It was 0-0 for three-plus innings, then they broke through in the fourth, a couple of Cougar errors allowed their first two runs to score.”
Escalon was without three of its starters, off on the traditional senior Disneyland trip, so other players stepped up to plug the gaps.
Dominguez went three-and-two-thirds innings in the final game, striking out three, walking three and giving up three hits. Schuurman worked the final two-and-a-third innings, striking out four and walking one.
“We had opportunities in the second and third innings, we just came up empty,” said Brooks. “Linden only had three hits but they got a couple of runs on our errors.”
Linden would end as the Section runner-up, falling to TVL top seed Hughson by a 4-3 score in the championship game.
For Escalon, hits in their finale included a double from Dominguez and hits from Prim, Beckman and Adalia Cajias.
The Lady Cougars closed out the campaign with a 14-11 overall record.
“All in all, a great season,” Brooks said. “We made it back to the playoffs, which was a goal, but next year we’ll have higher expectations.”