By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Summer Baseball Helps Cougars Build On Successes
Among the players taking part in the Cougar summer baseball program that ran for most of June was Nico Franzia, 7, shown here during the regular season standing in at the plate for an at bat. Times File Photo

In a short summer season, running for the majority of June, Escalon baseball players had the chance to hone their skills.

The first two weeks of the Cougar summer ball program, said varsity head coach Greg Largent, were used as teaching sessions.

“The younger kids went at 9 a.m. and the older kids went at 11 a.m.” Largent explained. “Some of the younger kids stayed for the later session, they got a look at the faster pace of the varsity game.”

Hosting Calaveras, Bret Harte and Ripon Christian, the Cougars scrimmaged with the other squads, but with no umpires and with coaches on the field.

“They were controlled scrimmages,” noted Largent. “As coaches, we would stop and teach as the situations arose.”

By going in the morning, teams were also able to both beat the heat and not conflict with schedules of other summer sports going on for athletes.

During the third week of June, the Cougars took part in the annual Lee Hampson Tournament, which was played at a handful of sites. They played their games at Gregori, taking on Gregori, Lincoln of Stockton and Sierra.

“We saw a lot more positives than negatives,” Largent said. “We had 35 different kids out.”

With summer jobs, family vacations and more, having nearly three dozen players suit up gave coaches the opportunity to always have a full team and put players in a variety of different positions to see how they handled them.

“Tyler Medina had a great summer, we used him on the mound somewhat and he did well,” Largent said. “Cam Ruiz had a good summer, Nico Franzia really showed some great hitting, Pablo Macias had some good moments and Colton Page is really coming along.”

Youngsters who are up and coming and impressed coaches this summer include Treye Ingram, Josh Fiori and Ian Burke, added Largent.

JV head coach Ken Baptista was also on hand for the summer season and Largent said between the two squads, they definitely saw growth and improvement.

They wrapped up the short summer schedule playing games against Ripon Christian and, again, saw positives come out of the week.

“It was very productive,” Largent said of the summer. “We were mixing in the young guys so there was a lot less pressure but they got some live reps. It was a step in the right direction.”