After a tough week previously, Escalon’s JV baseball boys had a much stronger effort this past week.
The result was a win on the road and a one-run loss at home.
Tuesday, March 10 the team headed to nearby Modesto to take on the Downey Knights.
“We got back to some basics and it really made a difference,” explained JV head coach Ken Baptista. “Josh Miller pitched some really good baseball, he went five innings.”
The contest went in the win column for the JV Cougars, leaving Modesto with a 5-3 decision in hand.
“Josh was getting ahead in the count and trusting his defense,” added Baptista.
Escalon did have an early lead, though Downey came back on the strength of a fifth inning, three-run rally to take the lead.
“We got it back in the sixth,” Baptista said of his team being resilient.
After Miller went five innings, Orion Hoover came on in relief and ended up picking up the win, pitching the final two innings and shutting down the Knights over the final two.
“Tyler Medina went 4-for-4, he had two doubles and two singles,” noted Baptista. “We put together a full game, which was what we needed.”
Colton Page had a pair of runs batted in, Noah Martins, Miller and Medina each had an RBI as the team rapped out 10 hits on the day.
Wednesday, the team was on the home field and welcomed in Sierra, a team from Manteca that the coach said they knew would be a tough opponent.
“They scored three runs on us in the first inning and we could have folded,” Baptista said.
To their credit, he noted, the JV Cougars battled back and made a game out of it, though they ultimately fell just a run short, falling by a 5-4 decision. Sierra scored three in the first, one each in the second and third innings. Escalon countered with single runs in the first, second, third and sixth innings.
“Mark-Anthony Valente pitched his best game, he had eight strikeouts,” Baptista said.
Tyler Medina pitched two innings in relief; Medina and Valente each drove in a run.
Escalon only managed four hits on the afternoon but parlayed it into four runs, with some smart running on the bases.
“Noah Martins was especially good on the base paths,” explained Baptista. “As a team we had eight or nine stolen bases.”
The JV boys did get the tying run to third base with one out in the bottom of the seventh but just couldn’t get it across the plate to send the game into extra innings.
Still, Baptista said he was pleased with the way the team played in the games and said the squad also felt good about the efforts.
“The overall mood was better, we were heading in the right direction,” Baptista said.
However, with all San Joaquin County schools closed down as the region navigates the uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus, there won’t be any school sports at least until April 6.
“I know they’re bummed,” Baptista said of his players, adding that they all understand the need for precautionary measures but are eager to get back on the field in a few weeks. “Hopefully we still have a season.”