A game at home and one on the road, losing both contests to Sierra, served to wrap up the season for Escalon’s varsity baseball boys.
In a season where many players were busy with more than one sport, head coach Greg Largent said it definitely was a difficult campaign.
“Baseball is such a mental game; if they were physically tired, the mental mistakes piled up,” Largent explained. “With the exception of two of the 22 games we played, we were in them; we were either leading or competing, then it seemed there was one error and it just snowballed.”
True to form, the Cougars were leading the Timberwolves in both games this past week before losing them.
“At home Monday (May 24) we ended up with a loss, 7-1,” said Largent. “In the second inning we got a leadoff single from Bryce McPherrin, a single from Cam Maruyama, a fielder’s choice by Josh Miller and then Orion Hoover hit an RBI single, scoring McPherrin.”
Escalon held the 1-0 lead until the fourth, when Sierra put five on the board, collecting three hits, taking advantage of two errors, and couple of walks to plate the runs. They added two more in the sixth for the 7-1 final.
“We did muster seven hits, McPherrin was 3-for-3 and Hoover was 2-for-3,” Largent said. “Pitching, Ty Harris started, he went five innings and looked sharp at times.”
Wednesday at Sierra, Escalon built up an early 4-0 lead, scoring a single run in the first and three in the second.
“Mark Valente started, he was real sharp in the first, then they answered with three runs in the second,” said the coach, trimming the Cougar lead to 4-3.
Escalon would add two more runs during the game but Sierra ended up scoring nine more and took a 12-6 victory.
“We would make a mistake and it got compounded,” Largent admitted of the loss. “We outhit them 10 to nine but it was just typical Cougar baseball for 2021.”
Valente went four-and-a-third innings; McPherrin came on to finish it up.
Leading hitters were Demetrius Teixeira, 3-for-4, and Gio Brunetti, 2-for-4, with RBIs from Maruyama and Valente.
Seniors closing out their careers for the Cougars were Ty Harris, Demetrius Teixeira, Bryce McPherrin, Cam Maruyama, Gio Brunetti, Alex Guevara, Evan Bava and Luke Anderson.
“It was just a strange year,” Largent said. “We had the tools, we had the capability.”
Now, he said, it is time to regroup and they will get in some summer baseball, having controlled scrimmages on Tuesday and Thursday mornings along with a tournament at Gregori later on in the summer.
For the JV boys, they also ended the season with a pair of losses to the Timberwolves, falling 13-0 in the home game on May 24.
“It was a little disappointing because we played so well on the Saturday before,” head coach Ken Baptista said of a May 22 win over Linden. “But Monday was just bad.”
The game went just five innings and Escalon had only had two hits, one from Greg Adams and a pinch hit from Nate Krieger.
Wyatt Cox got the loss, though many of the Sierra runs were unearned.
Wednesday, the JV boys were on the road and though they lost by a 10-4 final, Baptista said the effort was much better.
The coach said one of the Sierra players also mentioned how much better the Cougars played, saying they were “a completely different team” than the one on the field Monday.
The JV Cougars got all of their runs in the top of the third, with Logan Anderson, Jackson Runnels and Ryker Peters rapping out consecutive hits. Adams then put the ball in play and another run scored on an error.
“We were winning until the fifth inning; Jamin Miller was pitching a really good game,” Baptista said.
With Escalon leading 4-2, Sierra got the first two men on base in the fifth and the game went to the bullpen. After a ground ball error, the Timberwolves took advantage of the miscue and also rapped out a two-run single to take the lead.
Peters was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the loss, Anderson, Runnels, Krieger and Colton Page all added hits.
“Austin Ewing played some really good first base and Logan Anderson made a diving play at shortstop,” Baptista said. “After the third inning we just couldn’t get any more runs, we made some base running mistakes but we played much better than the last game, even though we lost.”
Though the season was a difficult one in terms of wins and losses, Baptista said he was just glad the boys had the chance to play.
“During this time a year ago we all were in the midst of the COVID pandemic, we didn’t know what was happening,” Baptista said of the very short season in 2020, shut down after just a couple of games. “This season’s victory was that we had a season.”