After a rainout against East Union of Manteca earlier in the week, the Escalon varsity baseball boys hit the road for a game under the lights Thursday in Stockton.
The traveled to Stagg for the night game and came away with a 6-0 win.
“We struck first, got three runs in the first inning,” said head coach Greg Largent.
Leadoff hitter Max Nicholas set the tone, battling in a nine-pitch at bat, working out a walk. He then stole second and Parker Cosby got on with a walk. Nicholas scored on an RBI single from Lucca Dutra and Cosby then came in on a sacrifice fly RBI by Justice Naraghi. Dutra and Naraghi moved up a base on a wild pitch, which allowed Dutra to score on an RBI single from Zach Abraham.
“It was nice to get Zach back,” Largent said, with the player out with an injury since the first games of the preseason campaign.
That made it 3-0 and though the Cougars appeared poised to add more, they left the bases loaded and had to be satisfied with the three-run top of the first.
“We got two more in the second,” Largent said, extending the lead to 5-0.
Colton Lowney was hit by a pitch and Dutra drove him in with an RBI triple, then scored himself on a wild pitch.
“In the fifth inning, Nash Satnat had a double, Max Nicholas drove him in with an RBI single,” Largent said.
That made it a 6-0 Cougar lead and they never let Stagg get any runs across.
“We played well, we lost a couple of balls in the lights but they were situations where there were runners on base and we didn’t panic, we were still able to get the force outs,” explained Largent.
On the mound, Nick Warren went the distance, pitching a complete game shutout while striking out four and allowing just three hits.
Hitting leaders for the varsity Cougars were Dutra, 3-for-4 with a triple and two runs batted in, Satnat, 2-for-3 with a double, with Nicholas, Lowney and Abraham each collecting one hit in the eight-hit Escalon attack.
“We had a great preseason campaign, went 9-1,” Largent said.
But, as the coach noted, that record goes out the window, as Trans-Valley League play officially begins.
“Now it all starts over again,” he said, with the games in TVL action starting with a home game today, Wednesday, March 29 hosting Riverbank. On Friday, the Cougars travel to Riverbank for a game there against the Bruins.
Also coming up, a Saturday night game that the Cougars will play at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, suiting up for a benefit game against Linden.
“It’s a fundraiser, we will take the field for a 7 p.m. start,” Largent said. “It should be real fun for the kids.”
Admission is expected to be $8 for adults, $5 for children.
Like their varsity counterparts, the JV boys had their Wednesday contest rained out; it has been rescheduled for April 29 at East Union.
The one game the JV boys did play went just five innings and they found themselves on the wrong end of the 12-2 final score.
“We started off very well but, as usual, we had one bad inning,” head coach Ken Baptista said, noting that the young Cougars need to find a way to limit the mistakes that are costing them greatly.
“Carson George started for us, he did pretty well, but our defense let him down,” admitted Baptista. “We struggled.”
The JV team took the loss against Stagg in Stockton, playing an afternoon game before the varsity played under the lights.
The bright spot for Escalon was the offensive production of Anthony LaRossa, who had a single, a triple and drove in both of the JV runs on the day.
This week, the team starts Trans-Valley League play, hosting Riverbank on Wednesday, March 29 and then playing on the road at Riverbank on Friday, March 31. They will then travel for a non-league game at Linden on Saturday, April 1 at noon.