Splitting their first two games of the preseason, Escalon’s varsity baseball boys lost on the road Friday but came right back to get a win at home on Saturday.
They traveled to Downey for a Friday afternoon game, Feb. 26, and fell 3-2 in eight innings.
Third year starter Robert Rickman had a strong outing, said head coach Greg Largent.
“He got the nod, pitched phenomenal, he went five innings, if it had been a midseason game he would have gone longer but we had him on a pitch count,” explained Largent. “He struck out nine, allowed three hits and two runs, both unearned.”
The Cougars didn’t catch any breaks on Friday, though they struck out just five times to Downey’s dozen. The host team also took advantage of every Escalon miscue, with all three runs unearned.
Escalon got a single run in the third; Downey scored one in the third and one in the fifth. Escalon tied it up in the seventh and had the bases loaded with two out but couldn’t get the go ahead run across. Still, the seventh inning run sent the game into an extra frame.
“In the top of the eighth, we went quietly,” Largent said. “In the bottom half, there was a leadoff walk, an error, a sacrifice bunt, then we issued an intentional walk to load the bases.”
A tough to handle infield single followed and brought the winning run home for Downey.
After Rickman exited, Alec Beltran came in, then gave way to Justice Naraghi. He came in with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, striking out the final batter to get the game to the eighth.
“We showed some grit, I clearly felt we were the better team, we just couldn’t get a break,” Largent said.
But, as luck would have it, the Cougars were able to get right back at it on Saturday, hosting Calaveras and taking a 6-4 victory.
“Jackson Bennett started, he went three-and-a-third but struggled a bit,” Largent explained. “Scyler Beltran did a great job relief pitching, he went one-and-two-thirds and picked up the win.”
Hashie Naraghi went two innings and got the save.
Leading hitters were Dylan Azevedo, 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Alec Beltran was 2-for-3. Also getting hits were JoJo Dutra and Justice Naraghi, while sophomore Parker Cosby was solid behind the plate, throwing out a couple potential base stealers.
“It was nice to bounce back,” noted Largent. “This team shows a lot of promise, there’s a good attitude, we are very deep, and probably have the deepest pitching I have ever had.”
Wednesday, March 2 the Cougars will be on the road at Sierra and then have their annual trip to the coast this weekend, playing a prep school in Pebble Beach on Friday afternoon and then taking on Pacific Grove on Saturday.