In a week where the varsity baseball team earned two Trans-Valley League wins, they also lost their first game of the season. That loss came on Saturday against Linden in a game at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton.
It was also a week where the team learned that head coach Greg Largent’s wife has been diagnosed with cancer, putting the game between the lines into a bit more perspective. The team was presented with special T-shirts prior to a Wednesday afternoon game at Ripon, purple shirts emblazoned with a pink ribbon and the name ‘Cindy’ on them.
“I knew nothing about it,” Largent admitted of the shirts. “It was kind of emotional for me, for the whole team.”
But the Cougars took that emotion and put it to good use, grabbing an 8-4 road win against the rival Indians.
“It was a tight game until the fourth inning,” Largent said.
In that frame, the varsity boys scored four runs, with a sacrifice fly from Parker Cosby, an RBI from Lucca Dutra on a bases loaded walk and a two-run single from Zach Abraham.
“We gave up two in the bottom of the fourth on two doubles and a hit batter,” noted Largent.
The Cougars added to their lead in the fifth on a two-run double by Max Nicholas to go up 6-2 and they made it an 8-2 lead on a two-out, two-run triple by Tanner McCrary. Ripon had a rally in the bottom of the seventh and scored twice but couldn’t get any closer, the Cougars taking the 8-4 victory.
“Parker Cosby got the complete game win, he threw 96 pitches, struck out seven and gave up five hits,” Largent said.
Along with the strong pitching from Cosby, the varsity squad got power from the bottom of the line-up.
“Our eight and nine hitters, Tanner McCrary and Estephan Salcedo, they were on base seven of eight times, they really set the table for the top of the line-up,” Largent noted.
Friday, the Cougars played host to the Indians and the game was an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel, with no runs on the board until the final at-bat for the home team.
“It was kind of a thriller,” agreed Largent. “We ended up winning 1-0 on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh.”
Starting pitcher Anthony LaRossa got the win, scattering six hits, allowing two walks and striking out two.
“He pitched a great game,” Largent said. “He kept them off balance and we played great defense, we turned three double plays to get out of jams.”
The middle of the infield, Abraham and Colton Lowney, were busy and effective, as Abraham had seven assists and Lowney six.
Escalon also hit the ball hard but mostly hit them at the Indians, having just four get on the scoreboard as hits.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Cougars had the bases loaded with one out and Salcedo was able to score from third on a passed ball, sliding under the tag attempt and immediately mobbed by his teammates as they enjoyed a victory dogpile at home plate and a 1-0 win.
Saturday, the Cougars were back at it, traveling to Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton for a game against Linden.
“It started out good, we scored three runs in the first,” Largent said.
Cosby started out the game with a double and Escalon also capitalized on a hit and two errors to score their runs. Linden, however, answered back with four runs in the second, with four hits a walk and an error helping get them on the scoreboard, taking a 4-3 lead.
Colton Lowney got the start but struggled early, giving way to Paul Ayala in the third inning. Ayala allowed two runs the rest of the way and Escalon managed to score just one more, getting a run in the fifth inning, taking a 6-4 loss.
It was the first time they have tasted defeat on the diamond this season, their record now 16-1.
“Cole Gilbert had a couple of hits, Parker and Estephan had doubles but we also hit the ball right at people,” said Largent.
Only three of the six Linden runs were earned, as the Cougars committed some costly errors.
“We won the games we needed to win,” the coach said of getting the TVL contests in the win column. “We finally took a loss and the guys were a little upset but it’s a rare thing to go undefeated. Linden outplayed us, they outhit us, it was a good reality check.”
Escalon returns to league play this week, traveling to Mountain House on Wednesday, April 18 and then hosting the Mustangs on Friday, April 20.
“It’s back to work,” Largent said.