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Tournament Play Sees Trio Of Varsity Baseball Losses
Outfielder Devin Roberson catches this deep fly ball on the warning track. Times Photos By Dennis D. Cruz
Senior Cole Gilbert crushed a home run over the left center field fence during the Mark Dickens Invitational. Shown is Gilbert tipping his helmet at home plate following the home run.Times Photos By Dennis D. Cruz
Carson George took the mound against Oakdale on Tuesday, April 23 and threw well but took the hard luck 2-1 loss. Times Photos By Dennis D. Cruz

Varsity baseball action during the Spring Break week for Escalon didn’t go as well as the Cougars had hoped.

They suited up for three games in the Mark Dickens Tournament hosted in nearby Oakdale and went 0-for-3 during the week.

They opened up against Turlock, falling in a 15-2 contest on April 22.

“We did have a bright spot, with one out Noah Rast got on with a walk, and after another out, Cole Gilbert hit a two-run homer,” said head coach Greg Largent. “We only had one hit in the game, this was a very talented Turlock team and their pitching was solid.”

Bryce McPherrin was on the mound for three innings against Turlock and they hit the long ball against him, said Largent.

“We played clean defensively,” the coach added.

But Turlock didn’t miss too many pitches – McPherrin served up strikes but they tagged them, collecting three homers, four doubles and two triples on the day.

Meanwhile, Escalon was frustrated at the plate, striking out 13 times.

“Tuesday against Oakdale, it was a close game, we lost 2-1,” Largent said. “To compete with Oakdale, especially coming off that lopsided loss on Monday, was good.”

In the fourth inning, Lucca Dutra singled, Gilbert walked, Dutra was able to steal a base and scored on a Luke Anderson ground out to take a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, host Oakdale tied it up with a walk, sacrifice and a single.

Oakdale went ahead in the fifth inning on a hit batter, followed by two outs, then two passed balls and a single to make it 2-1.

“Carson George was on the mound and we wasted another effort by him,” Largent noted. “He allowed five hits, struck out one and walked three.”

Escalon had four hits on the day, Rast, Dutra, McPherrin and Roman Gonzalez.

Wednesday, with Enochs bowing out of the tournament, the Cougars once again faced off against Oakdale. It was another nailbiter, this time a wild one with Oakdale coming away with an 11-10 victory.

“We were down 7-0 after three,” Largent said of his team finding a way to battle back. “In the fourth inning, we scored six.”

The inning for Escalon included a walk, a hit batter, and a two-run double by Dutra, all helping to chip away at the lead, making it 7-6.

In the sixth, the Cougars took an 8-7 lead, but Oakdale bounced back to score four in their half of the frame for an 11-8 edge.

In the seventh, Escalon got close but couldn’t get the tying run. Gonzalez singled, Clay Evans doubled and after an out, Devin Roberson notched a two-run double.

They rapped out 11 hits on the day, with three each from Roberson and Dutra, two by Gilbert.

“Wednesday we had some mental errors that cost us,” Largent noted.

Pitching, Zach Hearn got the start and went two innings, Ty Harris pitched three and Ethan Johnson pitched one.

“Everyone played during the week,” Largent said.

The Cougars finish out their Trans-Valley League schedule this week, playing at Hilmar, and have their scheduled league bye next week.