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Spring squads see regular season, playoffs winding down
ian burk
Diving back in safely to first, shown in the regular season finale at Ripon, is Ian Burk, as the varsity baseball team battled to a second-place finish in the Trans-Valley League. They moved on to the playoffs but fell in an opening round game in Division 5 to Summerville. Marg Jackson/The Times

It has been a hectic pace for Escalon High School spring sports athletes, with several teams coming to the end of their seasons and some seeing action in the postseason.

Baseball, softball, track and field, tennis and golf all were busy in the past week.



After a solid second place showing in the Trans-Valley League – losing out to Hughson for top honors – the Escalon varsity Cougars baseball team advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 playoffs. As the number 5 seed, Escalon traveled to face off with Summerville, the number four seed, in opening round play on May 8.

The host Bears shut out the Cougars by a 10-0 final, rapping out 10 hits on the day and committing just one error. Escalon had no runs, four hits and three errors. They closed out the season with a 15-12 overall record and went 10-2 in the TVL.

Josh Fiori had a pair of hits, Logan Huebner and Greg Adams each had one in the finale.

“The playoff game didn’t go as planned,” admitted head coach Gino Franceschetti. “We had a few guys pushing through injuries and we just ran out of gas. We played a good team and we made too many mistakes on defense.”

Summerville scored three runs in the first, four in the fourth, then added two more in the fifth and one in the sixth to put the game away.

“We had three errors by the second inning and they took advantage of the extra outs,” Franceschetti said. “They only had five earned runs out of the 10 they scored.”

Playing their final game for Escalon were seniors Jamin Miller, Parker Saunders, Jeremiah Reis, Nico Franzia, Jackson Runnels and Greg Adams.

“These seniors have a special place in my heart. When I was student teaching with Greg Largent, these were the boys I was teaching,” said Franceschetti. “They were a big reason why I continued to pursue teaching, I had so much fun being around them. They are going to be missed and hard to replace.”

This was Franceschetti’s second year at the helm.

“Last year I really didn’t know what to expect,” he admitted. “It was my first year and I was trying to get to know the boys. And the boys had to adjust to my coaching style was well.”

From an 0-7 start in preseason this year to battling for a league title, Franceschetti said the team worked hard to put together a winning campaign.

“This year we had expectations and more accountability within the team,” he said. “We all had a common goal and that first was winning TVL. We made good strides to achieve that but just fell short. If you were to tell me after our 0-7 start that we would be playing for a TVL championship I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s just a testament to the seniors and the resilience they had. It was truly a special group this year. They set the bar high for future teams.”



Closing out the season, the Escalon softball squads were on the road at Livingston on May 8.

“We lost a heartbreaker,” said head coach Caitlin Brooks. “We were up the majority of the game and outhit Livingston with 11 hits. We went into the bottom of the seventh up by five runs and Livingston came back and beat us, scoring six runs.”

The final score was 8-7 in favor of the host team.

“Definitely not how we wanted to end our season,” the coach said. “Madi Babasa pitched an excellent game for us while also going 3-for-4 at the plate.”

Shelby Wilder went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Jayci Trimble went 1-for-3 with two RBI.

“We are unfortunately losing four incredible seniors this year, Shelby Wilder, Grace Spurgeon, Violette Kent and Izzy Marsellis,” Brooks said. “They brought a level of leadership and competitiveness that will greatly be missed next year. Although we had a challenging season on paper, I am proud of the work they put in to foster a culture of pride and commitment that Cougar softball is striving to get back toward. They will be greatly missed.”

For the JV girls, under first year head coach Lexy Underwood, it was a tough loss as well, as they had defeated Livingston earlier in the season. This game, said the coach, was marked by errors that provided plenty of scoring opportunities for the JV Lady Wolves. The final was 33-16.

“Offensively it was a game that we should have won,” Underwood said. “Defensively we sadly did not show up and Livingston was able to capitalize on our mistakes.”

Seeing action on the mound were Mia Bracamontes, Aniston Hunt and Chloe Green.

“As a team we had 13 hits, only one strikeout and 12 walks,” Underwood said. “Overall, I am very proud of the girls this season. They worked hard and continued to grow each day.”



With the track and field Divisional trials on Wednesday and the finals on Friday, the Cougars didn’t have to travel too far; the May 8 and 10 competition was hosted at Riverbank High School.

“Between Wednesday and Friday, the relatively small group of kids from Escalon who made it to the Divisionals did quite well,” said head coach Arend Jones. “Everyone placed in the top 10 of their events in D5.”

Six athletes did better than most of those in Division 4, the coach added, and qualified to move on to Masters.

Freshman Kylie Fast moves on for the 800-meter run.

Senior Chloe Farley moves on in both shot put and discus.

“She was actually the D5 champion for discus,” said Jones.

The boys 4-by-800 meter relay team was the D5 champion and moves on to Masters as well.

“The boys are Calan Crumbley, Jose Calderon, Nate Millard and Andrew Morales,” Jones said.

Masters competition for the athletes will be Friday, May 17 at Davis Senior High School in Davis.

“If any athletes do exceptionally well at Masters they will move on to the State Championship,” Jones said.



A 6-3 win over El Dorado in the Section tennis playoff quarterfinals saw Escalon move on to the semifinals on Thursday, May 9. Escalon hosted the Thursday match but lost by a 7-2 decision, ending the team season.

Winners on Tuesday, also hosted by Escalon, were Nathan Rose at number two boys singles, the number one boys doubles team of Daniel Adams and Luca Cerasi, number two boys doubles Cooper Fugett and Logan Wentzell; girls number one Emma Rangel and Paloma Lara and, by forfeit, girls number two doubles Ashlyn Paxman and Carol Sandoval. Also winning were the mixed doubles of Violet Da Silva and Maddox Neilson.

Getting the two wins on Thursday were Nathan Rose, winning 6-4, 7-5 in singles play and, in girls doubles, Emma Rangel and Paloma Lara battled to an 8-6, 6-4 decision.

“They were a great team,” head coach Julianne Eavenson said of West Campus, noting that many of their players will be moving on to individual sections.

For Escalon, they went 10-4 overall and were 10-0 to claim the Trans-Valley League title. The playoffs were in Division 1; boys number two singles Nathan Rose, boys number one doubles Daniel Adams and Luca Cerasi, girls number one doubles Emma Rangel and Paloma Lara all qualified for individual Sections for the Cougars.



At the league tournament to close out the regular season, the Cougar golfers traveled to Pine Mountain Lake golf course, with Brenden Berchtold finishing ninth overall with a 92. Freshman Ethan Tellez shot his personal best, carding a 108.

Berchtold continued on, as he qualified for the Division 5 divisionals at Greenhorn Creek in Angels Camp. He shot a 102 there, ending his season.

“It was still a great experience for him,” head coach Brandon Hoover said of Berchtold. “He got the opportunity to play with two golfers in his group that advanced to Masters. He saw firsthand what it will take to advance another level next season. He made tremendous strides this year.”

Escalon’s Jessy-lynn Kessler takes a healthy cut during a plate appearance in the home finale earlier this month. The varsity softball girls closed out their season on the road in Livingston, where they fell to the host Wolves by an 8-7 final. Marg Jackson/The Times
girls relay
Megan Silva crosses the line for Escalon in the girls 4-by-100 meter relay team in action at the divisionals hosted in Riverbank. The team of Lady Cougar runners finished fifth. Ric McGinnis/The Times
kali 515
Like many Escalon players, girls number one singles Kali Castellanos had a tough go of it on Thursday against West Campus in the Section semifinals. The host Cougars lost the D1 playoff contest by a 7-2 decision. Marg Jackson/The Times