After a win at home on Tuesday, the Escalon varsity Lady Cougars softball squad hit the road on Thursday and took their first loss of the Trans-Valley League season.
They were winners against Mountain House to start the week, but fell in a 1-0 extra inning contest at Hughson.
Tuesday, April 25 the girls won a run-shortened 14-1 decision against the Lady Mustangs.
“We used all three pitchers, they all got some work in,” head coach Art Brooks said.
Chardae Hoskins, Molly Brown and Arabella Strach shared time in the circle while the Lady Cougar bats made plenty of noise in support of the trio.
“We got 13 hits, including four home runs and four triples,” said Brooks.
Escalon jumped in front in the first inning, with a single from Hailie Webster, RBI triple from Hoskins and a two-run homer from Brown. Strach followed with a homer and Hannah Boyd also launched one, the varsity girls going back-to-back-to-back in the home run department. Sage Davis then walked, Priscilla Nowling walked, Madison Kimble drove in a run with an RBI single, Grace Fitzgerald tripled to drive in a pair of runs. Hoskins added another triple later in the inning as the home team scored 10 first inning runs. They never looked back from there. Brown added a second home run in the game as well, driving in a total of three runs on the day.
Hoskins had a pair of triples and two RBI, Strach was 2-for-3 with a double and home run, Fitzgerald was 2-for-2 with a pair of triples, Webster went 2-for-3, with Hannah Boyd, Davis and Kimble all contributing hits.
At Hughson for a Thursday, April 27 contest, the girls were scoreless through nine, ultimately falling by a 1-0 decision in the 10th inning.
“We managed to get seven hits,” Brooks said, adding that they just couldn’t do anything with them, unable to get a run across the plate. “It was a real pitcher’s duel.”
Hughson outdueled Escalon, with Brown taking the hard luck loss on the mound. She scattered five hits, struck out seven and walked two in her 10 innings of work. Brooks said the host Lady Huskies used an “in betweener” to scratch across the only run of the game in the bottom of the tenth to get the win.
“The girls played their hearts out,” he admitted.
Ashley Duval went 2-for-4 in the loss, with hits also notched by Hoskins, Brown, Strach, Hannah Boyd and Morgan Reider.
“That was our first loss in league,” Brooks said. “We’re still in pretty good shape, we control our own destiny.”
The Lady Cougars were scheduled to host Hilmar on Tuesday, May 2 in their final regular season home game, after The Times went to press, and travel to Modesto Christian on Thursday, May 4 to close out the TVL campaign. They went into the week at 9-1, looking to nail down the league title with a pair of wins prior to starting the playoffs.
The young lady Cougars made the most of their trip to Hughson on Thursday, winning the game by a 16-8 final. Escalon trailed 2-0 after the first inning but got one run in the top of the second and another in the top of the third to tie the game, 2-2. Host Hughson plated three runs in the bottom of the third and regained the lead 5-2 but a four-run fourth put the JV Lady Cougars into the lead, going up 6-5. In the back-and-forth battle, Hughson tied it with a run in the bottom of the fourth, making it 6-6.
A four-run top of the fifth put Escalon into the lead for good and they got plenty of insurance with six runs in the sixth, extending the lead to 16-6. Hughson battled back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth but couldn’t get any closer, falling to the visiting JV Lady Cougars by the 16-8 final.
Escalon improved to 2-3 in league play with the win and now are 5-7-1 overall. They were scheduled to wrap up their season with a game at home on Tuesday, after The Times went to press, hosting Hilmar in a 4 p.m. contest.