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Summer Season Baseball Wins Keep Coming For Cougars
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They haven't missed a beat since they started suiting up for summer ball.

Escalon's summer 'A' team has been playing solid baseball and continued that trend with the recent 4-0 showing at their own Bob Loureiro Tournament, winning the championship.

All games were played at Escalon High and teams included host Escalon, Enochs, Ripon, Bear Creek, Linden, Ripon Christian, Modesto and Hughson.

Escalon emerged from their pool play with a 3-0 mark, defeating Enochs, Ripon and Bear Creek, while Modesto was also a perfect 3-0 in their pool, topping Linden, Ripon Christian and Hughson. That set up the Escalon-Modesto High match up in the championship game, won by the Cougars in decisive fashion on Thursday, June 17.

Escalon opened up with Enochs on June 14, taking an 8-2 win.

"It was a good game, we scored two in the first and it stayed that way until the top of the sixth, when they scored two," Escalon coach Greg Largent said. "Then we scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth."

Keys were a two-run double from Matt Roberson and RBI singles from Tyler Vitale and Jake Hood.

"It's nice to see the young guys stepping up," Largent said.

Vitale pitched six strong innings and Roberson came on to pitch the final inning in relief. Josh Miguel contributed with the bat, going 2-for-3. In Tuesday's game, the host Cougars topped Ripon by a 5-1 final, the Indians getting their lone run on the board in the fourth.

Escalon scored one in the second on a double by Matt Valencia and an RBI single from Roberson. The team got three more in the third.

"Two were on a two-run homer by Aaron Pangilinan, with a wood bat," said Largent. "We got our third run on a Patrick Mulry RBI single."

After Ripon made it a 4-1 game, Escalon got the run back in the sixth. Valencia was hit by a pitch and was balked to second, then scored on an RBI single by Trey Balber.

Pangilinan and Roberson shared the pitching duties in the game. Hosting Bear Creek on Wednesday, an offensive explosion in the second inning carried Escalon to a 13-3 win, with the game going just five innings.

"We erupted in the second, scored seven runs," Largent explained. "We took advantage of three consecutive hits and a couple of walks."

Hood had a two-run single, Pangilinan also added a two-run single for the big hits in the inning.

"They scored three in the fourth on a couple of hits and an error," Largent added of Bear Creek mounting a small comeback.

The Cougars then capitalized on Bear Creek miscues to get the runs back in the bottom of the frame with hits from Ben Sipes, Hood and Mulry. Two more runs in the fifth built the cushion and ended the game on the 10-run rule. Roberson singled, Balber walked, followed by singles from Jeff Evans and Jaren Gonzales. A two-run single by James Hill pushed the winning run across the plate.

"Brandon Shaw started the game," Largent said, noting that Mulry came on in the fifth.

"It was his first action on the mound, he can throw strikes," Largent said of Mulry.

Meeting up with Modesto on Thursday in the championship round, it was a shutout win, 10-0, for Escalon. They got two runs in the first, two in the fourth and three apiece in the fifth and sixth innings to nail down the title.

Doubles by Miguel and Gino Franceschetti, along with an RBI single from Roberson plated the runs in the first. In the fourth, Robbie Steves singled, Vitale singled and Hill drove them both in with a double to make it 4-0.

Three runs in the fifth came on another 2-run homer from Pangilinan and a Steves RBI single. Escalon put Modesto away in the sixth on the strength of a two-run single from Hood and a bases loaded walk by Miguel to drive in the winning run.

"We brought Brent Montgomery up from the 'B' team to start that game and he went two innings," said Largent. "Jaren Gonzales went an inning, Matt Roberson pitched an inning, then Nathan Chunn pitched two."

Largent said the pitching staff did an outstanding job all week in tournament play.

"They were throwing strikes, letting the defense do the work," he said.

It was also valuable experience for the underclassmen who hope to battle for a spot on the varsity baseball roster next season.

Teamwork was also key, as the Cougars had virtually a different line up for each game, as players dealt with other commitments, from basketball camp, to family matters to travel baseball.

This week, the team heads to the Lee Hampson Tournament, scheduled to kick action off today, Wednesday, June 23 against Johansen High School at 2:30 p.m. Games are scheduled in the 24-team tournament at Johansen, Oakdale and Modesto Junior College, with Escalon playing at Johansen. They will face off with Sonora at 11:45 a.m. Thursday, June 24; face Enochs at 9 a.m. Friday, June 25 and play Hughson on Saturday, June 26 at 11:45 a.m.

The 'B' team will play at a JV tournament hosted at Enochs High this week.