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Tournament Play Sees Three Wins By Varsity Softball
Lady Cougar Hailie Webster has to scramble back to the bag on a quick throw to first base during Thursday afternoon action against Turlock. She got in safely, but the Turlock team took a 3-1 win in the contest. Marg Jackson/The Times

It was a busy week for Escalon’s varsity softball girls, playing four games in the Rainbow Tournament at Rainbow Fields. Two games on Thursday, followed by two games on Saturday, saw the Lady Cougars win three out of those four contests.

Opening up the tourney action early Thursday afternoon, the varsity girls couldn’t find their bats and took a 3-1 loss.

Neither team could get much going offensively until late in the game, Turlock scoring three runs in the sixth to take a 3-0 lead. Escalon got a run back when Ashley Duval singled and turned on the jets as the ball went through the right fielder’s legs, Duval coming all the way around to score to make it 3-1. The varsity girls wouldn’t get any closer, though, and took the loss.

Molly Brown pitched well, striking out eight and scattering five hits over seven innings. Escalon hits came from Mackenzie Duval, Ashley Duval, Hailie Webster and Hannah Boyd.

In the nightcap, the girls battled to a 3-2 win over Sierra of Manteca in six innings. Chardae Hoskins got the win, striking out nine, walking two and allowing four hits.

Brown and Haley Boyd each had two hits, while one hit apiece came from Hoskins, Arabella Strach and a walk-off RBI double from Lexi Underwood.

“They scored one in the first, we scored in the fourth, they scored in the fifth to go up 2-1,” head coach Art Brooks said. “Then we got two in the sixth, we got a single from Chardae, a single from Molly, a single from Arabella and then the walk-off double by Lexi that made it 3-2.”

After a day off Friday, the girls were back at nearby Rainbow Fields on Saturday, starting off with an 11-4 win over Beyer, a game that went just five innings.

Molly Brown was the winning pitcher, Arabella Strach also got in a couple of innings of work.

“We had 13 hits,” Brooks said of the offensive outburst by his team.

Two hits each came from Sage Davis, Ashley Duval and Hoskins, while Mackenzie Duval, Underwood, Brown, Haley Boyd, Morgan Reider, Webster and Strach each rapped out a hit apiece.

In Saturday’s final game for the girls, they played the best of the foursome, prevailing over Atwater in a 2-1 decision.

“It went seven innings and it was a well-played game,” Brooks noted. “Chardae got the win, she had 15 strikeouts.”

Escalon got on the board early, scoring in the first inning. Mackenzie Duval doubled and moved to third on a bunt by Webster, then scored on a wild pitch. The Lady Cougars made it 2-0 in the sixth, Hoskins getting on with a single and Strach going in to pinch run for her. After stealing second and then advancing to third, Strach scored on a sacrifice fly by Brown.

Atwater struck back with one run in the top of the seventh but Hoskins and the rest of the varsity girls were able to shut the door and preserve the win.

“It was a good tournament, some real good competition for us,” Brooks said.

Trans-Valley League play will begin this week for the varsity girls, as they will host Riverbank in the TVL opener on Thursday, March 16 at 4 p.m.

There will be no JV game, as Riverbank does not field a JV softball squad.