Four games in tournament play at Rainbow Fields saw the Escalon softball girls meet with some success, as the varsity squad split their games and the JV girls won three out of four.
In varsity action, the girls faced off first with Madera South on Thursday, March 8 and came away with a 2-1 win.
“Molly Brown was in the circle, she was the winning pitcher, allowed five hits and had seven strikeouts,” said head coach Art Brooks. “She did a good job of getting out of a lot of jams.”
Chardae Hoskins had a double but got caught stealing as the Lady Cougars started to make some noise in the early innings. Hailie Webster had a walk, Bella Strach had a triple to drive her in and then Strach scored on a fielders choice by Brown.
Madera got their only run of the game in the third inning but couldn’t get any closer.
In their second game on Thursday, Escalon lost a close 4-3 decision to East Union.
Hoskins got the start and had seven strikeouts while scattering seven hits.
Escalon got a run in the second inning with an RBI single from Malia Babasa. Strach crossed the plate in the third after reaching on a double, moving up on a fielders choice and scoring on a passed ball.
East Union scored three runs in the fourth and added another in the fifth. Escalon got the tying run on board in their final at bat, getting Babasa to third with no outs, but couldn’t bring her in.
Saturday, the girls started with a 3-1 win over Gregori, with Hoskins notching 14 strikeouts and allowing just three hits.
The varsity Lady Cougars got their runs in the second and third, two runs in the second and one in the third. Brown notched an RBI single and Sage Davis knocked in a run on a fielders choice in the second, while Brown ripped an RBI double in the third.
“Gregori scored their one run in the sixth,” Brooks said of taking the victory.
The girls wrapped up tournament action on Saturday with a game against Turlock, taking a 9-2 loss.
Brown allowed nine runs and nine hits on the day and the Escalon girls could not get much going offensively.
In the second inning, Brown singled and Priscilla Nowling went in to pinch run for her, moving up on a bunt from Davis that went for a hit. Morgan Reider then moved them both over with a sacrifice bunt and Kayla Kemp hit into a fielders choice that brought Nowling in to score.
Strach blasted a home run in the fourth for the Lady Cougars’ other run against Turlock.
Brooks said it was a good tournament in that the team got several games in, looking to fine tune some things before they open up Trans-Valley League play this week.
The girls were scheduled to play at Pacheco in Los Banos on Monday and host Ceres on Tuesday, both games after The Times went to press. Weather permitting, they open up TVL play at home by hosting Riverbank on Thursday, March 15 at 3:30 p.m.
Going 3-1 at the Rainbow Fields Tournament, the JV Lady Cougars showcased their offense against several opponents.
Head coach Jordon Costa was excited that the team did so well, taking down Downey, Madera and Turlock before ending the tournament with a hard-fought loss to Gregori.
They opened up with a 17-1 win over Downey on Thursday.
“Brooke Campbell had three RBI with a double and a single, Mya Scott had two RBI,” said Costa. “Kailey Costa was our pitcher, she pitched really well, had four strikeouts and gave up only one run.”
Coming back for a second game on Thursday, it was another lopsided victory, 13-2 over Madera. Leading the way once again was Campbell, who drove in three runs and notched a triple. Bri Reimann had a single and drove in two runs.
“Saturday against Turlock, we won 11-1,” Costa noted.
Pitcher Ariel Astabie struck out six and allowed just one run.
Offense was provided by Kailey Costa with a pair of runs driven in; Scott with a double and two RBI and Trista Matthews drove in a run.
The final game in tournament play came against Gregori and Escalon fell by a 4-3 decision. Costa paced the team with a double and two RBI.
“They scored three runs in the first, we came back and got three in the second,” coach Costa said. “Then they came back and scored one more.”
Escalon battled throughout the contest but couldn’t find a way to get the equalizer.
“It was a well-fought loss, I don’t see the loss as a bad thing, I see it as a learning tool,” said the coach.
The JV girls were scheduled to play Pacheco and Ceres like their varsity counterparts, but don’t have a league game this week, as Riverbank does not field a JV team.