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Offensive Outbursts Lift Escalon Varsity Boys To Wins
Scoring 16 runs each time out against Hughson, the Escalon varsity Cougars put two more baseball games in the win column and have reached the 16-win mark for the season.

At Hughson on April 19, the varsity boys took a 16-2 win off the field, going just six innings against the Huskies.

"We just kept the machine rolling," head coach Greg Largent said of hitting being contagious for the team.

Josh Miguel was 2-for-4 on the day with three runs scored, Patrick Mulry had a home run and four RBI, with Aaron Pangilinan rapping out a three-run double. Matt Valencia was 2-for-2 with a home run and three RBI; Jake Hood, pinch hit single, RBI; Robbie Steves, 3-for-4, one RBI and James Hill, 3-for-4, two RBI.

"Hughson actually got their two runs in the first," said Largent. "They had a batter hit by a pitch, a double and then two RBI ground outs."

Escalon had 16 runs on 14 hits with no errors, Hughson had two runs on just two hits and three errors.

Escalon scored single runs in the first and second, three in the third, three in the fifth and broke it open with eight in the sixth.

"Brandon Shaw pitched and it was by far his best outing of the year," said Largent. "This is a good time to get him back in the groove."

Shaw had six strikeouts and was in command the entire day.

On Thursday, hosting Hughson, it was a 16-6 win, the Cougars jumping on top with six runs in the first inning. After one out, they put together a string of six hits, a hit batter, a walk and took advantage of two errors to get the runs in.

Five more runs in the second came on five hits, a sacrifice fly and two Huskies errors.

"We were cruising along, 11-0, then they put up six runs in the fourth," said Largent.

Escalon rallied after the Hughson outburst, putting a run on the board in the fourth and four more in the fifth to put the game out of reach.

Splitting the pitching duties were Pangilinan and Derek Velting. Key hit on the day came from Pngilinan, a two-run double to bring in the 15th and 16th runs.

Miguel was 2-for-4 with three RBI, Gino Franceschetti, 2-for-5 with an RBI; Mulry, 2-for-3; Pangilinan, 2-for-2, three RBI; Steves, 3-for-3, two RBI; Trey Balber, 2-for-4, double, two RBI; and Ben Sipes added a pinch hit single.

On Saturday, the Cougars had the chance to play at Banner Island Ballpark, home of the Stockton Ports, in an afternoon of games to raise money for charity. They took on Linden in the 1 p.m. contest and made the most of their trip to the minor league park, shutting down the Lions 10-0.

"That was quite a thrill for the guys, to be in that setting," said Largent.

Three sophomores were also brought up from the JV team to make the trip, Phillip Kimble, Nathan Chunn and Brent Montgomery, who will be among those called up when the varsity gets to expand the roster for the postseason.

"It was just a great venue for the kids," Largent added.

Escalon got started on the right foot, with a drag bunt from Miguel to start the game, a bunt from Franceschetti making it two on, no out, and Mulry drilled an RBI single to get the scoring stated.

"It stayed that way (1-0) until the fourth," Largent said.

Escalon got four runs on the board with consecutive singles from Balber, Shaw and Hill (RBI), then Miguel got a walk, Franceschetti had an RBI single, Mulry walked and Hill was able to score on a passed ball.

In the fifth with two outs, Hill singled and stole second, scoring on a passed ball, Miguel reached on an error and walks to Franceschetti and Mulry followed. Miguel later scored on a wild pitch. Three more runs came in the seventh, on an RBI single from Valencia and a two-run single from Matt Roberson.

"We were error free for the week and defensively, Josh Miguel had a great game at short, Matt Valencia went all seven innings, had 12 strikeouts, allowed three hits and no walks, threw just 80 pitches," Largent explained. "This was a nice game for the parents, nice for the kids, they had a great background to hit against ... they knew in the infield they would get true hops, there weren't any gopher holes to worry about."

All the regular varsity roster players had the chance to get in the game in some form, either pinch hitting or going in as a defensive replacement, so each has a memory of playing on the minor league field.

Escalon closed out the week at 16-3 overall, 8-0 in league play with four more league games to go, starting with Hilmar at home on Tuesday, May 3.

This week, they are taking part in the Ceres Tournament with a doubleheader today, Wednesday, against Central Valley at 12:45 p.m. and against Northgate at 3:30 p.m., both games at Central Valley High School in Ceres.