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Plenty of action keeps Cougar sports squads busy
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Escalon’s Lizzy Allan gets into fielding position at first base while the Riverbank runner leads off during Thursday afternoon, March 28 Trans-Valley Legue play in Escalon. The host Lady Cougars held on for an 8-4 win. Marg Jackson/The Times

Trans-Valley League play got underway for Escalon’s softball girls this past week, while the volleyball boys put another win on the books. Those were just a couple of contests in a hectic week for Cougar athletes.



Opening up league play at home on Thursday, March 28, the Escalon varsity and JV teams welcomed in rival Riverbank.

For the varsity, they built up a solid lead and then held on for an 8-4 win over the visiting Lady Bruins.

Five runs in the bottom of the first got Escalon off to a strong start. Riverbank got one run back in the top of the second but the Lady Cougars lengthened the lead to 8-1 with three more runs before the Lady Bruins got back on the board. Single runs by Riverbank in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings got them a little closer, but Escalon held firm for the victory. Escalon had seven hits on the day, Riverbank had four and the visitors committed three errors while Escalon handled all their defensive chances.

Violette Kent had the big bat, going 3-for-4 with a run scored and three runs driven in. One of her hits was a double. Starting pitcher Madison Babasa scored a pair of runs, Shelby Wilder had two hits, an RBI and scored twice. Izabelle Marsellis had a hit and an RBI; Arianna Velasco scored two runs and Grace Spurgeon knocked in a run. Babasa had three stolen bases and Velasco had one.

Babasa went the distance on the mound to pick up the win.

For the JV girls, it was a 17-14 Escalon win over Riverbank. Head coach Lexy Underwood said Chloe Green got the start on the mound and Mia Bracamontes came on in relief.

“Green with a double and Brooklyn Dugo singled her in,” Underwood said of getting the first run on the board for Escalon. “As a team we were patient at the plate with nine walks.”

They also rapped out a total of 15 hits on the day.

Adriana Romero paced the effort, going 2-for-2 with two walks; the team as a whole had eight stolen bases.

“Overall, very proud of the girls,” Underwood said. “Even when we got down, the energy stayed high and helped us secure the win.”



It was a split of league games for the varsity baseball boys this past week. They were home to host Hughson on Tuesday and took the loss, but then went on the road and got the extra inning win at Hughson on Thursday.

“We played well, Hughson just had some calls go their way and a home run that was the difference,” head coach Gino Franceschetti said of the 5-1 loss on March 26. “We were able to get base runners in scoring position but we never got the hit we needed.”

Jamin Miller and Logan Huebner each went 2-for-3; Nico Franzia went 1-for-3.

Thursday, it was an eight-inning contest on the road and Escalon edged out the host Huskies, 4-3, to improve to 5-1 in league play.

“Greg Adams threw for us, he went six-and-two-thirds innings,” Franceschetti said. “We had to pull him out due to pitch count rules.”

Escalon rapped out a total of 11 hits on the day. Logan Huebner was 3-for-3 with a pair of RBI; Jamin Miller and Greg Adams each went 2-for-4 while Ian Burk was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Nico Franzia was 1-for-2 with two runs driven in.

“We played well. We held a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the fifth,” said Franceschetti.

A throwing error allowed the tying run to score from third but Escalon regained the lead in the top of the sixth on a base hit by Huebner.

“Then in the bottom of the seventh with two outs we gave up back-to-back doubles which tied the game,” the coach noted.

In the eighth, Escalon had runners at the corners and it was Huebner once again coming through.

“He hit a line drive that hit the pitcher and we ended up scoring on that hit,” Franceschetti explained.

Hughson got the leadoff hitter on in the bottom of the eighth, then Escalon recorded an out on a ground ball. The next batter hit the ball to Josh Fiori, who was able to turn a double play to end the game.

Escalon’s JV boys had just one game against Hughson this past week, with the other to be made up at a later date. It was a 7-3 loss for the JV Cougars, said head coach Carlos Herrera.

“We played well early but, in the end, didn’t take care of the ball,” the coach said. “I am proud of the boys for battling the whole game.”



The varsity volleyball boys had just one match on the schedule this past week, hosting Riverbank in TVL play on March 28. There was no JV contest.

The Cougar varsity put away Riverbank in three, 25-12, 25-12, 25-18.

“We have been working on hitting,” said coach Shay Beam.

Carson Medina had nine kills to lead the team, while Mikie Lourenco had eight kills, Preston Berhorst had five and Frank Barrera added four. Aydun Melo notched 14 digs; Lourenco had nine. Ben Ferreira added 22 assists.

Stepping in to coach the team for the Thursday match was former EHS varsity girls volleyball head coach Teresa Williamson, standing in for Beam.

The team will be back on the court this Thursday, April 4 to host Livingston.



In another busy, successful week for the Cougar tennis team, the squad defeated Livingston by an 8-1 final on Tuesday and edged out Riverbank in a 5-4 decision on Thursday.

“We are currently 7-0 in league,” said head coach Julianne Eavenson.

Hosting Livingston on March 26, singles players picking up wins were Landon Underwood and Nathan Rose for the boys, Kali Castellanos for the girls. Daniel Adams and Luca Cerasi, Cooper Fugett and Logan Wentzell were winners in boys doubles, while the girls doubles teams of Emma Rangel and Paloma Lara, Carolina Sandoval and Ashlyn Paxman were also winners, and the mixed doubles team of Violet DaSilva and Maddox Neilson were winners.

Thursday, it as a closely contested match in Riverbank, with the teams doing battle before Escalon ultimately escaped with the 5-4 victory.

“We are so proud of the kids,” Eavenson added. “They have played so well.”



The third TVL tournament of the season is in the books; the team played Wednesday at Rancho Del Ray in Atwater.

“We finished third overall and we got a career best from Brenden Berchtold, Noah Ghiglieri and Matix Trimble,” head coach Brandon Hoover said.

Berchtold had the low score for Escalon with an 83, followed by Ghiglieri, 94 and Trimble, 100.

“Nate Krieger and Angel Castro are first year players and also had their best round ever,” Hoover said. “Freshman Ethan Tellez shot a 114. The kids have been working hard and results are finally starting to show.”

The team started one freshman, three sophomores and two first year seniors at the tournament.



Some strong efforts were put together by the Cougars on March 27, but the varsity boys and girls both fell to Riverbank in track and field.

“That puts the girls in third place currently and the boys in fifth place out of the seven schools in the TVL,” said head coach Alejandro Garcia. “The group that stood out for the girls were the throwing girls who took first, second and third in shot put and discus, bringing in 18 points.

The high jump girls also swept past their Riverbank counterparts to get another nine points for the team total.

“Overall, the girls had a great day,” said Garica. “With the boys, we had a couple injuries that held them back from securing a win but we look forward to the rest of this week to recover and be ready for Livingston.

That event is scheduled on the road on April 10.

On Saturday, March 30, the team traveled to the Pacific Grove Invitational and the sophomore girls placed second out of 21 schools, the coach said. The Escalon athletes brought home a total of 18 medals from the invitational.

“In 36 events, our athletes improved their personal times and marks,” Garcia said of the effort at Pacific Grove.

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Serving up a point here is Mikie Lourenco, as the Cougar varsity boys hosted Riverbank in league play on Thursday, March 28. The Cougars won in a sweep over the visitors. Marg Jackson/The Times
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On the tennis court in Riverbank, Paloma Lara sends back the return during girls doubles action; she teamed with Emma Rangel against the Bruins. Times Photo By Ric McGinnis