Losing in extra innings on the road Tuesday, the Escalon varsity baseball boys came back to get a win at home on Wednesday. The split left the squad with a 6-2 record in Trans-Valley League action with four games to go.
They lost a Tuesday night game, April 24, to host Modesto Christian by a 6-5 final.
“It was a game that didn’t go our way at all,” head coach Greg Largent said. “It was tough going, without one of our best players, but we didn’t play very well, either.”
The varsity squad was without Parker Cosby, sitting out a one-game suspension for throwing his helmet in a game the previous week. Largent also was serving a one-game suspension but was kept updated on the contest.
Escalon did score first, getting on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning. Paul Ayala had the RBI, driving in Lucca Dutra.
In the bottom of the first, Modesto Christian jumped on starting pitcher Colton Lowney to string together four straight hits and six in the inning, taking a 3-1 lead.
“They added single runs in the third and fourth innings so we were down 5-1,” Largent explained.
In the fifth inning, the Cougars started to mount a comeback. Steven Grossi singled but was erased on a fielder’s choice by Max Nicholas. After trading places with Grossi, Nicholas stole second. After the second out, Zach Abraham was hit by a pitch, then Dutra ripped a two-RBI double to close the gap to 5-3.
“In the sixth inning, Nash Satnat walked, Cole Gilbert got a pinch hit single, Max Nicholas had an RBI ground out and we got a sacrifice fly from Estephan Salcedo,” Largent said of tying the game at 5-5.
Neither team could get the game winner in regulation, so they headed to extra innings.
“Both teams had opportunities,” Largent said of the eighth and ninth innings. “We had a good shot in the tenth, Satnat got a two-out walk, then Gilbert sent a double to the gap, Satnat came around but he was out at the plate.”
It was a picture perfect throw from the outfielder to end the inning and cut down the go ahead run, added Largent.
“We also had the bases loaded with one out in the 12th but couldn’t do it,” Largent said. “Modesto Christian had opportunities in the ninth and the 11th; we got out of some jams.”
The host Crusaders pushed the winning run across the plate in the bottom of the 12th. They loaded the bases on a single, walk and an infield single. A comeback grounder that bounced off the glove of relief pitcher Anthony LaRossa was picked up quickly, but the runner from third just beat the throw home to secure the win for Modesto Christian.
Lowney settled down after his tough first inning and then the Cougars got an excellent relief effort from Paul Ayala, who came in to pitch in the fifth inning.
“He went seven innings but had to be removed in the 12th, he got to his pitch count,” explained Largent. “He allowed three walks and three hits and struck out six. He also went 5-for-6 at the plate.”
Gilbert went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles in the loss.
“We got right back on the field Wednesday,” Largent said of having back-to-back games.
The quick return to the field was a good one for the Cougars, as they handed Modesto Christian a 13-3 loss, splitting the season series with the Crusaders.
In the first inning, Cosby singled, Salcedo walked and after an out, Gilbert walked. That loaded the bases and then Abraham hit into a line out. Lowney was hit by a pitch to drive in a run, Satnat walked to drive in another to make it 2-0.
Four runs in the second put the Cougars up 6-0. Cosby reached on a single and Salcedo walked, both advancing on a double steal. Ayala ripped a two-RBI double, then Gilbert blasted a two-run homer to the scoreboard in centerfield.
“It was a majestic shot, as high as it was far,” Largent said.
One more run in the third made it 7-0 before Modesto Christian answered back with two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth. That made it 7-3 and the Cougars closed out the game with a six-run uprising in the bottom of the fifth, winning via the 10-run rule at 13-3.
“We sent 11 batters to the plate,” said Largent.
Keys were RBI doubles from Devin Roberson and Cosby, runs batted in from Ayala and Gilbert and then three consecutive bases loaded walks to score the final two runs.
Getting the start on the mound was Cosby, earning a complete game victory.
“Parker did a good job, went the distance, he threw 73 pitches,” Largent said. “He throws a lot of strikes, pitches to contact.”
Cosby allowed eight hits, three earned runs, walked one and struck out two.
Escalon had a total of 10 hits in the win. Ayala was 2-for-4 with three RBI; Gilbert was 2-for-3 with two RBI; Lowney, Satnat and Roberson each had two runs batted in and Cosby was 2-for-4 with a run batted in.
Next up for the Cougars will be a game hosting Hughson on Wednesday, May 2 at 4 p.m. and then a road game against the Huskies on Friday, May 4.