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Preseason Wraps With Big Wins For Varsity Softball
Lady Cougar Faye Hernandez shouts out her excitement as she rounds third base after sending a three-run homer over the right field fence in Friday afternoon action, helping Escalon defeat previously unbeaten Manteca in non-league play. Looking on is head coach Jeff Borden, at third, and varsity teammates gathered at home plate to congratulate Hernandez on the round tripper. Marg Jackson/The Times

A huge week saw the Escalon varsity Lady Cougars take down two previously undefeated softball opponents.

They closed out the preseason campaign with a win at home against Oakdale on March 16, then put away visiting Manteca on Friday, March 18.

Wednesday, the girls had to come from behind and got a 7-6 victory over Oakdale in eight innings.

Brooke Davis was on the mound and got the win.

“She pitched a great game only allowing one earned run as our defense struggled a bit with six errors, by far the most in a game this season,” explained Escalon head coach Jeff Borden.

Escalon got a single run in the fourth inning on a walk to Macie Vickers, a single by Tulsa Carnes and a ground ball fielders choice from Faye Hernandez.

“We were down 3-1 going into the bottom of the sixth,” the coach said. “Brooke led off with a double, Bailey Dugo running for her scored on a Tulsa Carnes RBI single.”

Singles by Hernandez and Shelby Wilder tied the score at 3-3 but Oakdale’s Lady Mustangs scored three in the top of the seventh to regain the lead, 6-3.

“We answered with three in the bottom of the seventh; the inning started with back-to-back singles by the Vickers sisters (Emily and Macie) and a walk to Brooke Davis,” Borden said. “Emily Vickers scored on a Tulsa Carnes sacrifice fly, Shelby Wilder had a game changing single for two RBIs to tie the score 6-6.”

Oakdale went quietly in the top of the eighth; Escalon got the win in the bottom of the frame.

Briana Vazquez led things off with a single and Lucy Allbaugh followed with a single, those two advancing to second and third on a Macie Vickers out to right field.

“Briana made a great read on an Oakdale wild pitch and scored, sealing the walk off win,” Borden said, as the team got a little revenge for a lopsided loss in tournament play earlier this season.

“Equally exciting was our 12-7 win over previously unbeaten Manteca,” Borden said of the Friday contest.

Again, though, the varsity girls found themselves trailing early, down 5-0 going into the fourth. Manteca had a grand slam over the right field fence to plate four of those five runs.

However, Escalon got the bats going at the right time and crafted their second come-from-behind win of the week.

“Our hitters found their stride, led by a three-run home run by Faye Hernandez, Lucy Allbaugh had four hits,” noted Borden. “Emily Vickers had two doubles and a triple with four runs batted in, Macie Vickers had a double and two singles with two RBIs.”

A pair of runs batted in and three hits came off the bat of Carnes, including a double while Wilder, Vazquez and Grace Spurgeon each had a hit.

“We had 19 hits and for the first time this year everyone in the line-up had a hit,” Borden said.

This week, the girls will begin Trans-Valley League play; they were to travel to Livingston on Tuesday, March 22 after The Times went to press and host Hughson on Thursday, March 24. They also plan to make up a game postponed earlier this season with Merced, traveling on Friday for that contest.

Varsity Lady Cougar Briana Vazquez, 2, looks to lay down the bunt during a Friday afternoon non-league game against Manteca. Escalon took a 12-7 win off the field from the visiting Lady Buffaloes. Marg Jackson/The Times