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Varsity Lady Cougars Claim Softball TVL Title
A meeting at the mound sees the Escalon varsity Lady Cougars infield and the pitcher and catcher gather in recent Trans-Valley League action. The girls went 12-0 to claim the TVL title. Marg Jackson/The Times

With a 12-0 record, Escalon’s varsity Lady Cougars softball squad wrapped up the Trans-Valley League title. They won three games during the past week to claim the honors.

“Monday we had a make-up game with Ripon, we won that one 5-3,” said head coach Art Brooks. “It was a back and forth game, Molly Brown was in the circle and she did a good job keeping the ball down, she gave up three runs on five hits and had eight strikeouts.”

Escalon took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI single from Hannah Boyd, only to see Ripon come back and tie it in the fourth.

“In the bottom of the sixth, they strung a couple of hits together and took a 2-1 lead,” Brooks said of the host Lady Indians. “In the seventh, Hannah singled, there was an out, then Molly Brown hit a two-run homer over the centerfield fence.”

That gave Escalon the 3-2 lead and they weren’t done. Hailie Webster walked, Lexy Underwood singled and Malia Babasa drove them both home with a base hit to lengthen the lead to 5-2.

Ripon threatened in the bottom of the seventh. After a fly out, they got runners on with a walk and a single, with Bella Strach coming on in relief of Brown.

Strach allowed a single that drove in a run and cut the Escalon lead to 5-3 with just one out. But a fortuitous bounce then ended the threat and the game.

“The girl hit a shot that deflected off Bella’s glove, Lexy Underwood caught it on the deflection and then threw to first to double the girl off, game over,” Brooks explained.

Escalon rapped out 11 hits in the game, with three from Strach, and two apiece from Brown and Underwood leading the way.

Hosting Hilmar for Senior Day on Tuesday, May 1, the varsity girls got a shutout victory, 9-0.

Chardae Hoskins was the winning pitcher, striking out 15 in seven innings of work while allowing just two hits and two walks.

“We scored four in the fourth, two in the fifth and three in the sixth,” said Brooks.

The sixth inning runs were the most impressive, coming with two outs.

Boyd doubled and she and Strach both scored on Strach’s inside the park home run to make it 8-0. Brown capped it off with a home run over the right field fence for the 9-0 final.

Strach was 4-for-4 with a pair of runs batted in, a double and a home run. Brown was 2-for-2 with a home run and two walks. Webster was 2-for-3 with two runs batted in while Boyd, Underwood, Hoskins, Maddie Kimble and Sage Davis all added hits as well.

Traveling to Modesto Christian for Thursday’s regular season finale on May 3, the varsity girls took the victory in a 12-0 run-shortened game.

“Bella Strach threw a no hitter, she walked three and struck out 13,” Brooks said. “Our big inning was the fourth; we scored eight runs in that inning.”

Powering the offense were Brown, 2-for-4 and Morgan Reider, 2-for-3 with a pair of runs batted in. Picking up hits on the day were Hoskins, Boyd, Strach, Underwood, Webster and Leticia Gutierrez.

“Charade and Leticia also had a couple of RBIs each,” said Brooks.

With the trio of wins during the week, Escalon improved to 17-7 overall and completed the perfect run through league. Now they wait to see who they face in the playoffs, anticipating a home game next week, Monday, May 14.