Opening up Trans-Valley League play against Riverbank, the Escalon varsity Cougars baseball team took a pair of wins, 9-1 on the road and 10-0 at home.
They also played a non-league game on Friday, getting a victory over Half Moon Bay.
“We got a little taste of what the big leaguers do,” head coach Greg Largent said of playing three games in a row, with two of them requiring travel.
On Wednesday, March 28 the team went to nearby Riverbank and called on several players to get the win.
“The flu bug kind of hit us, we got a lot of different guys in, they all contributed,” explained Largent.
Escalon jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, with a double by Max Nicholas, an RBI double from Paul Ayala and a two-run homer from Cole Gilbert to make it 3-0. Nash Satnat walked and later scored on a fielders choice.
Three more runs in the fourth made it 7-0 before Riverbank clawed back to get one in the bottom of the inning.
Anthony LaRossa and Tanner McCrary each notched RBI singles in the fifth for the 9-1 advantage.
“Parker Cosby pitched, he went seven innings, allowed six hits and struck out six, he didn’t walk anyone,” Largent said. “He threw just 74 pitches.”
The Cougars had a dozen hits on the day, paced by Zach Abraham, 3-for-4 and McCrary, Ayala and Gilbert, each going 2-for-3.
Thursday at home, the Cougars shut out the Bruins 10-0, wrapping up the game in the bottom of the sixth when their 10th run crossed the plate.
“We scored seven runs in the second, batted around, the majority of the runs came after we had one out,” noted Largent.
Key hits in that inning were a two-run double by McCrary and a grand slam over the left field fence by Lucca Dutra.
“That was a no doubter,” Largent said of the ball that went well over 300 feet off the bat of Dutra.
Escalon added a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Nicholas to make it 8-0 and a pair of RBI singles provided the knockout blow in the sixth.
After Devin Roberson reached on an error, Steven Grossi singled and Abraham drove in Roberson with a single. Colton Lowney then came up with a pinch hit RBI single to make it 10-0 and seal the win for Escalon.
LaRossa went five-and-two-thirds strong innings, allowing three hits and striking out three in picking up the win. Carson George got in his first work of the season in a brief relief appearance.
“We had 12 hits again,” Largent said.
Ayala had three hits, Abraham and McCrary with two each.
“Friday, we had a totally different type of game,” Largent said of traveling to a state of the art complex in Half Moon Bay. “It was a great treat for the kids to play there.”
Escalon battled to a 6-5 victory. Lowney got the start but went just two innings, allowing one run. The Cougars fell behind 1-0 but scored four runs in the third, with a sacrifice fly from Dutra and a bases clearing triple from Lowney.
Dutra came on to pitch in the third and went an inning and two-thirds.
Half Moon Bay scored four in the fourth to take a 5-4 lead and Satnat came on in relief, going three-and-a-third innings for the win.
Largent said the Cougar pitchers did throw strikes, and pitched to contact, keeping the team in the game. They were able to tie it with a run in the fifth on an RBI single from Estephan Salcedo following a double steal.
Escalon took the lead in the sixth with a leadoff triple from Nicholas, coming in to score on a Dutra sacrifice fly. That gave them a 6-5 lead and they were able to keep Half Moon Bay off the scoreboard the rest of the way to nail down the win.
“They are very fundamentally sound,” Largent said of their opponent. “But we came away with the victory, we were able to do it. It was a positive week.”
The Cougars were scheduled to help host the annual Oakdale Mark Dickens Memorial Tournament this week, with contests on the EHS fields early in the week.