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Pair Of Wins For Varsity Cougar Baseball Boys
On a roll to close out the preseason, Escalon's varsity baseball boys kept it rolling, grabbing a lopsided win their Trans-Valley League opener on March 13.

The boys traveled to Manteca for a Tuesday game, March 10 and won there, 7-0. They jumped on the host team early, striking for four runs in their first at bat.

After a fly out to start the game, Spencer Franceschetti hit a home run, followed by a round tripper from Leighton Pangilinan to make it 2-0. After a conference on the mound, Escalon's next hitter was hit by a pitch, knocking him in the helmet. Nick Largent took the base on balls and the incident got the Cougars fired up. After a strikeout, Aaron Pangilinan doubled to drive home Largent, then Derrick DeFreitas doubled to drive home Pangilinan, making it 4-0.

The Cougars added three more in the second. Josh Miguel reached on a fielder's choice and, with two out, Leighton Pangilinan was hit by a pitch, Largent drilled an RBI double, then Charlie McDonald singled to drive in two.

"We coasted after that," coach Greg Largent said.

The game included a warning for Escalon when their starting pitcher, Aaron Pangilinan, hit a batter on an 0-2 count with two outs, but there were no more fireworks. Pangilinan went five innings, striking out five and walking one while allowing four hits.

"He looked very sharp," said Largent. "Charlie came in for his first time this season and went two innings."

He struck out four, walked one and allowed one hit.

Big hitters on the day included Franceschetti and Leighton Pangilinan with the home runs, Largent, 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI; McDonald, 2-for-2, two RBI; Aaron Pangilinan, 2-for-4, double, RBI; Miguel and DeFreitas with doubles.

"That was our last tune up prior to league on Friday," noted Largent.

The Cougars hosted Riverbank in the TVL opener for both programs and took a 15-1 win in five innings.

"Riverbank scored in the top half of the first, they took the lead," Largent explained. "They put together a couple of hits, we had an error."

Riverbank's 1-0 lead was short-lived, however, as the Cougars exploded for 10 runs in the bottom of the first.

Franceschetti had reached on a walk and, with two outs, Largent singled to drive him in with the tying run.

"Then the floodgates just opened," Largent said of the two out rally.

Key hits were a three-run homer by Aaron Pangilinan to left center, with a grand slam later in the inning from Leighton Pangilinan. The Cougars also took advantage of four walks in that frame.

"It was 10-1 until the third," Largent said of adding five more runs in that inning to put the game out of reach.

Largent had a 2-run homer, with RBIs also from DeFreitas, Travis Cardoza and Miguel.

"We emptied the bench," Largent said of getting everyone involved in the game. The Cougars had 15 runs on 12 hits with two errors. Riverbank had one run on thee hits with three errors.

John Lopez got the start and went three innings, striking out six, giving up three hits and allowing just one unearned run. Jon Whitesitt came on in relief and got one strikeout in two innings of work.

Leighton Pangilinan was 2-for-3 with a grand slam, Largent, 3-for-3 with three RBI; Aaron Pangilinan, 1-for-2, three-run homer; and the host Cougars also got singles from Tony Gonzales, Matt Hudson, DeFreitas and Josh Messersmith.

Largent was happy to start the league campaign with a win but said this week will provide a "good measuring tool" for his team, with a pair of road games against opponents they battled with last season. The boys go to Hughson on Wednesday, March 18 and head to Modesto Christian on Friday, March 20.

"Both are tough places to play," he said. "And the kids don't particularly like each other."

First pitch will be 4 p.m. in each contest.