Taking two games from Modesto Christian this past week, the Escalon varsity baseball team has set themselves up in good position to get into the postseason.
“We got a sweep, that’s what we needed,” said head coach Greg Largent.
The first win came at home on Tuesday, April 26 in a 9-6 final; they then went to MC for a Thursday, April 28 game and won that by a 9-2 score.
Hosting the Crusaders first, the Cougars spotted them three runs, two in the first and one in the second before they struck back in the fourth inning.
“Robby Rickman pitched, he went five-and-a-third innings and never really got comfortable,” admitted Largent. “He threw 101 pitches; Scyler Beltran came in with a bases loaded situation and retired all five batters he faced.”
That got Rickman the win and Beltran the save.
“We got things going in the fourth,” Largent said, with the Cougars scoring four times in that inning to take the lead. Keys were a Dylan Azevedo RBI ground out and a two-out, two-RBI double from Alec Beltran. “We added five more in the fifth.”
Colton Lowney, up from the JV team to take the roster spot of injured Zach Abraham, got the rally started with a one out single, followed by a walk to JoJo Dutra and a sacrifice bunt from Azevedo. Rickman doubled in two, Alec Beltran drove in a run and Jackson Bennett followed with a two-RBI double.
Modesto Christian threatened with three in the sixth but Scyler Beltran put out the fire.
Escalon had nine runs on nine hits; MC had six runs (three earned) on seven hits.
“Thursday at Modesto Christian, it was a windy mess,” said Largent. “You always hold your breath when you play there.”
Bennett got the start on the mound and had some early struggles but overcame them fairly quickly.
“He settled down, went the distance, threw 82 pitches,” Largent noted.
Escalon scored a run in the second on a Bennett RBI ground out, MC countered with a run in the second and took the lead with a run in the third. But they wouldn’t get any more in the game, while the Cougars had some timely hitting to get eight more runs in the contest.
A single, a sacrifice bunt and an RBI single from Logan Widmer tied the game at 2-2, the Cougars taking the lead in the fifth with RBI singles from Rickman and Azevedo making it 4-2.
Two runs in the sixth, scoring on a Trevor Van Boven pinch hit RBI and a Rickman RBI single, made it 6-2 and the Cougars sealed the win with a three-run seventh inning.
“We got four walks, Logan Widmer had an RBI on a bases loaded walk, Justin Miranda came on as a pinch hitter and had a two-run single,” Largent said.
Defensively, catcher Parker Cosby threw out four baserunners, helping keep the Crusaders off the base paths.
“He called a great game, too,” noted Largent of his catcher. “Jackson Bennett got out of some jams early and he struck out the side in the fifth and the seventh; he had 10 strikeouts total and no walks.”
The Cougars ended the week all alone in second place with a 6-2 mark in Trans-Valley League play, second to 8-0 Ripon. They were scheduled to take on Hughson (6-4) in Escalon for the first of a two-game series on Tuesday, May 3 after The Times went to press and will be at Hughson for a Thursday, May 5 game.
The JV team will be back in action this week as well, after having a bye week due to the fact that Modesto Christian does not field a JV squad.