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Offense Explodes In Trio Of Varsity Baseball Victories
Outscoring their three opponents of the past week by a 40-3 margin, all three games went in the win column for Escalon's varsity baseball Cougars.

They started the success off with a 4-0 shutout of East Union at home on Tuesday, March 16.

"Defensively, we played very well," noted coach Greg Largent of the win. "Matt Valencia pitched six solid innings."

Escalon rapped out 11 hits to go along with the four runs. They had no errors. East Union managed just two hits, one off Valencia and one off closer Nick Largent, while they also had two errors.

Escalon scored single runs in the first, third, fifth and sixth innings.

In the first, Josh Miguel doubled, Spencer Franceschetti singled and Largent drove in Miguel with an RBI ground out. In the third, with two outs, consecutive singles by Travis Cardoza, Derrick DeFreitas and Trey Balber (RBI) pushed the run across.

Fifth inning scoring also came with two outs, DeFreitas reaching on a fielder's choice and then stealing second, scoring on an RBI single from Balber. In the sixth, Miguel singled and stole second, Franceschetti drove him in with an RBI single.

Valencia struck out eight, gave up one hit and walked three in his eight innings of work. Largent allowed one hit and struck out one.

Friday, the boys traveled to Riverbank for the Trans-Valley League opener and thrashed the host Bruins in a 21-1 contest.

"We jumped out on them early," Largent said of taking a 9-0 lead in the top of the first.

Riverbank got its only run in the bottom of the first, taking advantage of two Cougar errors and then using a sacrifice fly to get on the board.

After nine runs in the first, Escalon kept up the attack, with six runs in the second, four in the third and one each in the fourth and fifth of the five-inning game.

"Derrick DeFreitas had two home runs on the day, a two-run homer in the first and then a solo home run in the fourth," Largent said. "Our top three in the batting order, Miguel, Franceschetti and Largent, had 11 hits between them."

Everybody got involved in the offensive attack, as the Cougars had 21 hits to go along with their 21 runs. Riverbank had just two hits and committed six errors.

Miguel went 4-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI, Franceschetti was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple and three RBI. Largent went 4-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI, while DeFreitas was 2-for-4 with four RBI.

"Justin Martinez went the distance, five innings pitched, he had nine strikeouts, gave up two hits and one walk," Largent said. "He also fielded his position very well, he had two line drives come right back at him and he got them both. That usually doesn't happen twice in a season, let alone one game."

Saturday, the team had a chance to travel to Delta College to face off with Linden in a non-league game and picked up right where they left off, hammering their way to a 15-2 victory.

"They actually took a 1-0 led after one inning," Largent said of the Lions.

But two runs in the top of the second opened the floodgates and the Cougars were off again, with two in the third, four in the fourth, two in the sixth and five in the seventh.

Valencia went 2-for-3, Cardoza was 2-for-4, with an RBI. Largent had three RBI, Miguel had a pair of doubles and Franceschetti had a double and two triples. One of Miguel's doubles came with the bases loaded, clearing them, and one of Franceschetti's triples plated two more runs. Patrick Mulry added a sacrifice fly, pinch runner Tym Blair got to cross the plate in the seventh inning, while Logan Stewart also came through with a pinch-hit single.

"Brandon Shaw pitched, he kept people off balance all day," said Largent.

Shaw pitched a complete game, striking out eight, walking two and scattering seven hits.

Escalon had 15 runs on 16 hits with two errors. Linden had two runs, seven hits and three errors.

"A nice double play ended the game, Franceschetti to Miguel to Cardoza," Largent said of the defense playing well again.

The boys will host Hughson in league play today, Wednesday, March 24 at 4 p.m. and host Modesto Christian in a Saturday morning game, 11 a.m.