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Sweep Of Hughson Lifts Cougars To TVL Title
Varsity Baseball
After gobbling up the grounder, Zach Abraham gets off the throw to first during late inning play on Friday. The Cougars clinched the Trans-Valley League title with a 13-2 win over Hughson. Marg Jackson/The Times

Wins are wins, but sometimes they are ugly.

Case in point, Escalon’s 14-0 victory over Hughson on the road Wednesday, May 3.

“It was probably the ugliest game ever,” admitted varsity baseball coach Greg Largent of the blowout shutout against the Huskies in near triple-digit weather.

“It was the first really hot day,” the coach added. “We scored two runs in the first, had the bases loaded with no outs in the second but didn’t score, then we erupted for 11 runs in the third.”

Getting the scoring started on the road, Colton Lowney and Parker Cosby each crossed the plate on a Zach Abraham two-run single.

“In the third, we took advantage of a hit batter, a sacrifice bunt, four walks, three singles, a double, an error and then three more singles to make it 13-0,” Largent said.

They added one more run in the fourth to close out the scoring and never let Hughson get on the board.

“Justice Naraghi had a great day, he was 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBI, Tanner McCrary was 2-for-4 with two RBI,” Largent noted. “Max Nicholas had three RBI and Colton Lowney went 3-for-5 with a run batted in.”

The offense was clicking and Naraghi, along with his production at the plate, was equally good on the mound, getting the start for the Cougars.

“He did a real good job in the heat, went all five innings, scattered five hits, struck out four, he was the winning pitcher,” Largent said.

Friday at home, the Cougars had the opportunity to clinch the Trans-Valley League title and they accomplished that goal, this time winning by a 13-2 final.

“We loaded the bases in the first with one out but got no runs,” Largent said of not being able to capitalize early. “But then we scored six in the second.”

Jacob Alvarado had a double, McCrary drove him in with an RBI single to get the scoring started. Nicholas followed with an RBI double and then the varsity boys got back-to-back singles from Lucca Dutra and Naraghi.

“We added six more in the third, we got three straight walks to start the inning,” explained Largent. “Dutra and Naraghi had RBI singles, Abraham had an RBI double, Alvarado an RBI ground out.”

In the fourth inning, Cosby singled and Nash Satnat went in to pinch run. On a Dutra single, Satnat was thrown out at the plate, but shortly thereafter, Steven Grossi – who went in to pinch run – scored on an RBI single from Naraghi. For the week, Naraghi went 5-for-7 with seven runs batted in.

“Both games, we got to use everybody,” Largent said. “Wednesday, we clinched a spot in the playoffs and on Friday, we clinched the TVL.”

Escalon rapped out 12 hits on Wednesday in addition to receiving 12 walks and getting three on base after being hit by a pitch. Friday, they utilized eight walks and 14 hits for their margin of victory.

Nick Warren got the complete game win on Friday, striking out two and allowing two hits. Both Hughson runs came in the third inning, with just one of them earned.

“It was a nice week,” Largent added.

The varsity squad was scheduled to host Hilmar on Tuesday, May 9 after The Times went to press, with Senior Day recognition due for Justice Naraghi, Justin Miranda, Jacob Alvarado and Casey Turner.

Though they have the league title, the Cougars are now looking to get a couple more wins and enter the playoffs as the top seed.

“We’re 21-4 now and hoping to improve on that,” agreed Largent. “I told the boys, don’t be satisfied; we want that blue banner.”

The Cougars are aiming for a perfect league campaign but will need to stay focused against the upset-minded Yellowjackets. They close out the regular season on the road Wednesday, May 10 at Hilmar.

Playoffs are scheduled to begin Monday, May 15 but the Cougars won’t know when or where they play until after the league finale and the playoff seeding meetings.