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Tough Non-League Losses For Cougar Varsity Baseball
JVs Win Two
Sending the pitch toward the plate, Jackson Bennett had a strong outing against Linden, though the Cougars ultimately lost a 10-8 decision. Marg Jackson/The Times


Getting two games in before the heavy rains came, Escalon’s varsity baseball boys took a pair of losses on the ball diamond this week.

They hosted Linden on Wednesday and following an up and down game, ended up on the losing end of a 10-8 final.

“It was a heartbreaker,” said head coach Greg Largent.

After a run in the first for Linden, host Escalon took the lead in the third, courtesy of an RBI double and a three-run homer from Robby Rickman.

“We held the lead, 4-1 through the fifth when they got another run to trail 4-2,” said Largent.

Jackson Bennett got the start and went five strong innings, striking out four and giving up two runs.

Things fell apart in the sixth, with a couple of hits and errors making it 5-4 Linden. Escalon rallied with a four-run bottom of the sixth, keyed by a JoJo Dutra two-run triple and a two-run homer from Alec Beltran to take an 8-5 lead.

“But in the top of the seventh, Linden used a couple of walks, a couple hits and an error to score five runs,” Largent noted. “We ran the gamut of emotions in about 10 minutes.”

Trailing 10-8, Escalon got a couple of men on base in the bottom of the seventh but couldn’t bring them in, falling by the 10-8 final.

Dutra had a triple and two RBIs on the day, Brian Warren was 2-for-4, Alec Beltran 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and three runs batted in, with a home run and three RBIs from Rickman.

Thursday at Enochs, it was one bad inning that doomed the Cougars, as they gave up five runs in the second and lost a 5-3 decision.

“Robby (Rickman) had a fine outing, we just couldn’t catch it behind him,” said Largent. “Only two runs were earned.”

Escalon also had opportunities to score, loading the bases with no outs in the second but failing to capitalize.

They came back with three runs in the third, Dylan Azevedo driving in a pair on a two-out, two-strike single with runners at second and third. One runner had scored on a bases loaded wild pitch.

“That one bad inning came back to hurt us,” admitted Largent. “But there were some positives, we battled back and if we can clean up our errors, that will help, everyone is capitalizing on them.”

Rickman had a single and a double as the Cougars outhit Enochs.

This week, field conditions permitting, the Cougars will host East Union on Tuesday, March 15 and then travel to Stagg for a Friday night game, March 18.


Junior Varsity

Games were close at the JV level this week as well but both went in the win column for the younger Cougars.

“Against Linden, we were down 4-2 and then got three runs in the bottom of the sixth and won it 5-4,” explained coach Ken Bautista. “We got the game-tying triple from Nash Satnat and a go ahead double by Max Nicholas.”

Winning pitcher was Steven Grossi, who came on in relief and went two strong innings.

“We had nine hits as a team and played good defense,” added Bautista.

On the road Thursday, the JV Cougars faced off with Enochs for the second time already this season. Earlier, they got a win at home and this time got past the host Enochs team 2-1.

“The key was our pitcher, Colton Lowney, he went the complete game, a one-hitter, he had 13 strikeouts,” said Bautista. “He was hitting all his spots, just pitched great.”

Grossi had an RBI single for one of Escalon’s runs, the other came in on a passed ball. Escalon had seven hits on the day.

“This game was really won by our pitcher,” Bautista noted.

Now 5-1, the JV team has good depth this season, the coach added, and will be bac on the diamond for games this week hosting East Union and traveling to Stagg.

“It’s a good group of kids,” Bautista said.