A couple of tough defensive outings for Escalon’s varsity softball girls this week saw them fall on the road but come back to win at home.
The girls, who have qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, wrap up Trans-Valley League play this week.
They were at Ripon for a Wednesday, May 4 contest and took a 3-1 loss.
“Ripon got one in the third, we tied it in the fifth,” said head coach Art Brooks. “They got one more in the bottom of the fifth on a Cougar error and added an insurance run in the sixth.”
Chardae Hoskins got the start on the mound and pitched strong, turning in a solid performance with 10 strikeouts, two walks and five hits.
Brooks said the errors victimized the Lady Cougars, helping Ripon take the win and stay on top of the TVL standings.
“We just couldn’t catch the ball when we needed to,” Brooks admitted.
Escalon got its lone run in the fifth inning, Ashley Duval reaching on a base hit, moving up on a ball hit by twin sister Mackenzie Duval, then scoring on a Ripon error.
Ashley Duval, Hoskins and Natalie Arnold each went 2-for-3 in the loss.
Friday, on the home field against Hilmar, the Lady Cougars did manage to get the game in, despite rain throughout much of the day and the threat of bad weather continuing as they took the field.
“It was an 8-5 win, we had a good day at the plate,” Brooks said.
The varsity girls jumped in front with a four-run bottom of the first with a Mackenzie Duval double, a sacrifice by Arnold and then a squeeze bunt from Molly Brown bringing Duval home. Haylie Corriea followed with a shot up the middle and Hoskins ripped a two-run triple. She then came in to score on a Hailie Webster RBI hit.
“Hilmar scored three of their own in the third and two in the seventh,” Brooks said.
After the Lady Yellowjackets cut it to 4-3 with their runs in the top of the third, Escalon answered back with a pair of runs in the bottom of that frame to make it 6-4. Two more in the fourth made it 8-4 Escalon and Hilmar threatened with two in their last at-bat.
“The three different Cougar errors didn’t help,” Brooks said of the host team letting Hilmar stay in the game. “I don’t know what happened this week; we just didn’t handle the ball well.”
The team had even had a 45-minute discussion the day before, after having errors on Wednesday, but didn’t play cleanly on Friday, either. Hopefully, Brooks said, they got the errors out of their system.
“When Hilmar rallied in the seventh, they had two runners on and were still threatening when Haylie Corriea picked a runner off third for the final out,” said Brooks.
Molly Brown went the distance for the win, allowing just three hits, walking four and striking out four.
Escalon did rap out nine hits on the day, paced by Hoskins, 3-for-4 with a triple and three runs batted in; Corriea 2-for-4; Mackenzie Duval 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles; Brown with a double; Nicole Luis with an RBI single and Ashley Duval with an RBI single.
Escalon ended the week at 7-2 in league play with one game remaining in the regular season.
“Ripon is undefeated, we were in both games with them and had chances,” Brooks said of battling the Lady Indians. “It looks like we will finish second in league and playoffs start the following week.”
The Lady Cougars host Mountain House on Wednesday, May 11 for the regular season finale and will recognize their six seniors in a ceremony prior to the first pitch.
Playoffs begin Wednesday, May 18 at Arnaiz Field in Stockton.