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Summer Squad Hits Diamond To Start Campaign
Escalon's summer baseball program kicked things off with a win and a tie in a Friday doubleheader at home.

Hosting Sierra at Bob Loureiro field under cloudy, muggy conditions on June 3, the Cougars took a 6-0 win in game one.

"Brent Montgomery was our starting pitcher and he did a real good job, went five innings," said coach Greg Largent.

Relief pitcher Matt Roberson threw two solid innings as well, combining with Montgomery for the shutout.

Sharing the catching duties were Nathan Chunn and Raymond Guevara.

"Big hitters for us were Patrick Mulry with a sacrifice fly, Matt Valencia had two hits, Ray Guevara had a hit," noted Largent. "We also got good defense from Josh Miguel and Phillip Kimble."

The first summer game gave the Cougars a chance to see some new players, those that will likely be moving up to the varsity level next season at the high school.

"We have 22 kids on the summer roster if they all show up the same day," Largent said.

Many are busy with jobs, travel ball, vacations, and the like, so the roster fluctuates from game to game but Largent said they are glad for the chance to work with a number of combinations on the field.

"We're getting a good feel for the new guys coming in," he said.

In Friday's nightcap, the Sierra and Escalon squads went back and forth, Escalon taking a lead, Sierra tying it up, then Sierra taking a lead with three runs in the top of the seventh inning. Escalon answered back in the bottom of the frame, knotting the game at 5-5.

"It was starting to get dark, we were both running thin on pitchers, we had played a doubleheader, we just agreed to call it a draw," Largent said.

Chunn was the starting pitcher for Escalon, going three innings. Guevara pitched the fourth and fifth, with Robert Perata throwing the sixth and seventh innings. Valencia tripled to drive in Kimble, who had singled, in the first inning and then Valencia scored on an error to give Escalon the early 2-0 lead.

Defensively, Matt Roberson did solid work at first and third base during the game, Mulry threw out a runner at the plate in third, getting the assist from right field, to squash a rally. Kimble, at short, and Alec Nerland, at second, proved to be a capable middle infield combo, while Guevara and Chunn also handled the catching.

"One of the good things about summer ball is you have open substitution," Largent explained. "It's more of an instructional league, you learn on the fly during the game, you can make adjustments."

Weather permitting, the squad was scheduled to play at Hilmar on Monday, with a Thursday doubleheader on the schedule at Johansen High School on June 9, playing both Downey and Johansen.