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Softball Girls Top Hilmar, Fall To Crusaders
Buoyed by the return of Caitlin Brooks to the pitching circle on Wednesday the varsity Lady Cougars put five runs on the board to defeat visiting Hilmar, 5-0.

The host squad got a single run in the second and four in the fourth to take the win.

Brooks, who at one time was thought lost for the season due to a foot injury late in the basketball season, got the go ahead to play with a deep bruise on her right foot. She is opting to play through the pain, not wanting to sit out her senior season.

In the second, Lexi Prim got on with a single and moved up on an error, Ami Hood followed with a single and Prim scored when the second baseman bobbled the next ball, put in play by Brooks.

In the fourth, it was Prim getting it started again, notching a single. Nicole Bianchi reached on an error, Casey Schmidig singled and Hood cleared the bases with a three-RBI double. She later came in to score on a fielders choice from Anastasia Rodriguez.

On the opposite side, Brooks had good stuff, striking out 11 over the seven innings. She scattered four hits, including two doubles and a triple.

"We just held them," coach Dianne Teixeira said of recording the shutout. "We had a couple of errors but also a lot of put outs."

Escalon had five runs on nine hits with two errors; Hilmar had no runs on four hits and three errors.

Brooks had been out of action for almost two weeks.

"She feels that week and a half hurt her," Teixeira said of Brooks working to find her rhythm again. "The foot is sore, very painful, but she's dealing with it."

Hood was 3-for-4 with a run scored, three RBI and a double on the day, Prim was 2-for-3.

"Then we went to Modesto Christian and had one of those MC wild ones," Teixeira said of facing the Crusaders, coming home with a 3-1 loss in extra innings.

Rodriguez homered in the fourth to give Escalon the lead, MC scratched out a run in the fifth to draw even. The game went 13 innings, with each side having a chance to win it a couple of different times.

"We had chances, and a few times they had runners on third with no outs but we held them," said Teixeira.

Escalon got a double from Prim to start off the 13th, she was able to move to third but then was picked off, ending the threat.

Modesto Christian won in the bottom of the inning with a one out, two-run homer. Brooks had 19 strikeouts and two walks. Hood, Brooks, Bianchi all had singles, Katie Heflin added two, with a double from Prim and the home run from Rodriguez.

Escalon had no errors, MC had 10 hits and an error. Hughson and MC lead the standings, but each has two losses, Escalon is next with three losses.

Escalon will host Ripon in a make up game on Thursday, April 14 and is home to host Riverbank on Friday, April 15. Game time for each is 4 p.m.