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Summer Baseball Squad Picks Up Pair Of Wins
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Picking up just about where they left off, Escalon baseball players put their first two games of the summer campaign in the win column.

The team includes many players from the varsity squad at Escalon High that will return to the high school in August, as well as up and coming JV players poised to make the jump to the varsity level.

"We had four games this week," said coach Greg Largent. "We started out at Hilmar in a night game on Monday."

The June 7 game under the lights was a scheduled nine-inning contest and Escalon came away with a 16-5 win.

"Josh Miguel had a long home run, Patrick Mulry was 3-for-4, Matt Valencia was 2-for-4," Largent noted of standout varsity players continuing to work hard in summer ball.

"Robert Steves also had a couple of hits, it was a good measuring stick for some of the guys," Largent added of getting a taste of varsity competition. "Josh Vandagriff added to the offense, so did Jake Hood, it was a pretty good start to the summer season."

The team used a lot of pitchers, by design, in the first game and those taking the mound included Valencia, Derek Velting, Dominic Louro, Brent Montgomery, Jaren Gonzales and Jeff Evans.

"They all got some work, the defense played well behind them," said Largent.

The team then geared up for the Linden Tournament, staged at Billy Hebert Field in Stockton, starting on Thursday, June 10. They faced off first with Sierra and took an 18-5 win off the field in six innings.

Miguel moved to shortstop for the game, as Gino Franceschetti came in to play second. Aaron Pangilinan got the start at first, with Largent using the opportunity to try players in different spots.

An injury to Brandon Shaw knocked him out of the game, though, as he was cleated sliding in to second base and needed stitches.

Offensively, the Cougars again got great production from players throughout the line up.

"We got a bases loaded double from Trey Balber, Mulry had a couple of hits, Matt Roberson hit the ball well," said Largent. "Matt Valencia started the game and was relieved by Derek Velting, who gave us some good innings."

It was a doubleheader Thursday for the team, as they faced off with St. Mary's in the nightcap.

"We were ahead 4-0, we struck first," explained Largent.

The first run came on a Pangilinan RBI after Miguel got on with a double. Two runs came in the fifth on a pair of walks and RBI hits from Hood and Louro. Another run in the sixth was manufactured with a couple of walks, a balk, a stolen base and Franceschetti crossing the plate on wild pitch.

"Aaron Pangilian got his first work on the mound in over a year and he did great, he gave up just two hits," Largent said.

The bullpen was unable to hold the lead, though, and the squad took a tough 5-4 loss.

Saturday morning, the summer Cougars came in a little undermanned against their Franklin opponent, with many of the players attending the Wing T camp for football staged at Escalon High. Others were at a travel ball weekend tournament in the Bay Area, so it was a combination of 'A' and 'B' team kids that filled the line-up card for Largent.

"We went in with somewhat of a skeleton crew, we had just one guy with varsity experience, Aaron Pangilinan," Largent said. "Franklin was pretty much at full strength but I was real proud of the guys, they scratched and clawed, they got a 3-3 tie."

The makeshift line up included Alec Nerland at second base, Jaren Gonzales pitching, Jeff Evans at third, Josh Vandagriff catching, Owen Pangilinan in center field, Raymond Guevara in left, Ben Sipes at short and Derek Velting in right field.

"Gonzales went the first three and did a great job," Largent said. "Aaron came in then and shut them down."

Big hits came from Sipes and Velting, while transfer student Drew Cadell also contributed.

"We took second in our pool," said Largent.

The team opted out of the final tournament game on Sunday, though, with players still at the Wing T camp.

This week, they are in the midst of hosting the Bob Loureiro Tournament at Escalon High. Games began Monday and will continue through Thursday with games scheduled at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Pool A includes Linden, Ripon Christian, Modesto and Hughson, with Pool B teams including Ripon, Bear Creek, Enochs and host Escalon.

Escalon was scheduled to play Enochs on Monday and Ripon on Tuesday. They will battle Bear Creek today, Wednesday, June 14 at 4:30 p.m. Thursday's game will be against a team from Pool A, based on pool play records.

All games will be at Bob Loureiro Field, home of the varsity Cougars.