Hosting Bret Harte on Tuesday, the Escalon varsity Lady Cougars softball team was a 10-3 winner.
It wasn’t, however, the rout that the final score would suggest, as the host team played down a little bit, said head coach Art Brooks.
“Bret Harte had several players that hadn’t played much before,” he said, adding that his team didn’t capitalize on all their opportunities.
The game was supposed to be in Angels Camp but fields there were still under water, prompting the relocation of the game to Escalon. With water also saturating Escalon’s JV field, the younger Lady Cougars played at 3 p.m. at the varsity field, followed by the varsity team at 5 p.m.
“Bret Harte scored two in the first, in the bottom of that inning we came back, had back-to-back triples by Mackenzie Duval, and Natalie Arnold,” said Brooks. “We also got one in the third, two in the fourth, four more in sixth. The game was shortened; it went just six innings because of darkness.”
Bret Harte added their final run in the fourth. Molly Brown got the start for Escalon and went the distance, striking out nine, allowing three hits.
Arnold paced the team offensively, 3-for-4 with a double and a triple. Hailie Webster was 2-for-3 with a triple, Emily Avalos was 2-for-2 with an RBI.
“Also getting hits apiece were Mackenzie Duval, Haylie Corriea, Molly Brown, Morgan Reider, Nicole Luis and Ashley Duval,” Brooks said.
Friday, March 18 the girls were back at home to host Downey and this time battled hard, coming away with a 6-4 victory in the non-league contest.
“It was a pretty exciting game, it kept you on the edge of your seat the whole way,” admitted Brooks.
For the visitors, they struck first, getting a run in the first and another in the third to go up 2-0. Escalon answered with three in the third to take the lead, Downey tied it with a run in the fifth. The Lady Cougars regained the lead with two runs in the fifth to go up 5-3, added an insurance run in the fifth to make it 6-3. But Downey threatened in the seventh, plating a run before starting pitcher Molly Brown cut down the last batter via strikeout.
“Molly did a good job, she allowed four runs on four hits, with three strikeouts, none bigger than the last one of the game, the third place hitter at the plate with the tying run at second,” Brooks said.
Escalon’s offense was efficient enough, and the defense – although a little shaky at times – did come through in the clutch.
“Haylie Corriea had a couple of pickoffs of runners at third, Molly Brown made a diving grab of a bunt attempt and from her knees doubled the runner off third,” said Brooks. “I was impressed with how they were able to rally behind each other and make the plays that they had to.”
On the offensive side, Ashley Duval was 2-for-3 with a triple and a walk and reached on an error as well, Brown was 2-for-3 with a double, Webster had a triple and also notching hits were Arnold, Corriea, Tristin King and Mackenzie Duval.
This week, the Lady Cougars head to Argonaut on Friday, March 25 to make up games in the Jackson Tournament that were previously washed out. They are scheduled to play at 10 a.m. and noon and go in with a pair of wins already in tournament action.