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Varsity Cougars Drop Pair To Hughson Diamondmen
Escalons Dustin Lawrence bounces this pitch to the infield during an at-bat against visiting Hughson on Thursday. The host Cougars fell to the Huskies by a 9-2 final. Marg Jackson/The Times

In a tough week, the Escalon varsity baseball team dropped a pair of Trans-Valley League contests to Hughson.

It was a combination of missing offense for the Cougars as well as defensive miscues, along with letting too many Huskies reach base via walks and hit batters.

“It was a recipe for disaster,” said head coach Greg Largent. “Tuesday at Hughson it was a 5-1 loss, we walked five, hit three batters and committed two errors.”

The host Huskies took the lead on the first pitch they saw in the bottom of the first inning, notching a home run. Two more hits followed but the Cougars escaped with allowing just the single run in that inning.

Another Hughson run in the third made it 2-0, Escalon countered with their lone run of the day in the fifth inning.

“After an out, Kevin Gregorio doubled, Robbie Rickman followed with a sacrifice fly and Logan Widmer singled,” said Largent.

Hughson made it 3-1 with a run in the fifth and added the final two in the sixth with a hit batter, a walk, a sacrifice, a walk and a hit batter.

“It was just one of those days,” Largent said. “We didn’t play very well and they’re a pretty good team.”

Hoping to turn it around on Thursday at home, things didn’t go as planned for the varsity squad, this time taking a 9-2 loss to the Huskies.

“We gave up three runs in the first inning, committed two errors,” Largent said of getting off to a rocky start.

They were never able to recover from the early deficit, as Hughson got two more runs in the second on two walks and two singles, opening up a 5-0 advantage.

“We surrendered 15 hits but we had 12 of our own,” said Largent. “We just couldn’t string them all together.”

The Cougars stranded a dozen runners. Their two runs came in the fifth, with singles from Demetrio Perez and Garrett Denczek, followed by an RBI double from Brandon Grogan and an RBI single from Kash Satnat.

Other highlights from the day were two outstanding catches in left field by Moises Murga and the first hit of the season for Ryan Dicus.

Saturday, the Cougars were able to get past their miscues and get a win on the road at Calaveras in non-league action.

“We brought up some young kids, mixed up the line up a little, tried to get a spark,” said Largent. “We got a 10-2 win but we had five errors.”

Key to the win was the pitching effort of Jackson Bennett, who went five strong innings, allowing just one hit and striking out five.

Murga, Frankie Warren and Perez all saw some action in relief.

“We took advantage of 14 walks,” Largent added of getting plenty of runners on base in the victory. “Brandon Grogan reached base safely in all five at-bats, with two doubles and three RBIs, Kevin Gregorio had a double and two RBIs.”

Grogan and Perez switched places in the batting order, Grogan taking over the leadoff spot and he was able to spark the offense from there during the contest, said Largent.

“Hashie Naraghi also did a great job behind the plate, he threw out a runner to end the game,” added the coach.

This week, the Cougars will look to get back on track in league play. They were slated to be at Ripon on Tuesday, after The Times went to press and will host the Indians on Thursday, March 26.