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Trans-Valley League Seasons Coming Down To Wire
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Escalon’s Alyssa Herrera winds up and prepares to send off the pitch during Wednesday afternoon action, April 19, on the home diamond. Getting into fielding position at shortstop is teammate Madison Babasa. The girls won two of their three league games this past week. Marg Jackson/The Times

Varsity baseball got back on track with a pair of wins, varsity softball won two out of three, tennis tied for the league title … it was a busy and productive week for Escalon High sports teams.

Also in action, golf traveled to tee off in two events and the track and field team faced off with Livingston in a meet hosted at Riverbank.

Here is a recap of the contests.



With a pair of victories over Hilmar, Escalon evened its Trans-Valley League record and gave themselves a shot at getting to the postseason. They were on the road on April 18 and took the game by an 8-3 final, the returned home for a Thursday, April 20 contest and defeated the Yellowjackets, 5-3.

“We just kind of made it a point this week to do the simple things, play catch, put the ball in play,” said head coach Gino Franceschetti of getting back to the basics of fundamental baseball. “We committed just one error in those two games; we pride ourselves on pitching and defense.”

Parker Saunders went six strong innings on Tuesday and Josh Fiori came on in relief to pitch the seventh.

“They made some errors and gave us some runs, we capitalized on those chances,” Franceschetti added of putting the two league wins together.

Thursday, Greg Adams got the start and gave way to Jackson Runnells, who inherited a two on, no out situation in the fourth inning.

He induced a couple of ground balls to middle infielder Fiori, who was able to hold the runner at third both times and get the outs; a key moment in the game.

“We did the little things right,” Franceschetti said.

The Cougars play El Capitan of Merced in non-league action this week; they wrap up league with Modesto Christian, home on May 2, away on May 4.

The JV team lost a 1-0 decision to Hilmar on Tuesday, starting pitcher Ian Burk striking out six but also giving up several walks. Escalon had five hits on the day but couldn’t cash in any runs.

“It is always a tough pill to swallow when you out hit your opponent and come up short,” noted head coach Carlos Herrera.

On April 20, the JV boys lost another close one to the Yellowjackets, this time falling 2-1.



The week started with a 16-5 win against Hilmar, then the varsity girls hit a bad patch as they lost a 14-3 decision to Ripon, aided by too many Lady Cougar errors. Escalon put the lopsided loss behind them and went on the road to defeat Livingston, 11-9, playing their games on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“Our main focus is just playing our game and control what we can,” said head coach Caitlin Brooks. “We are a very capable team and have the opportunity to decide how the rest of our season goes and how we end up in TVL.”

Leading the team against Hilmar were sisters Emily and Macie Vickers, each with a home run, while Grace Spurgeon was perfect at the plate, going 4-for-4. Madison Babasa was 2-for-3 in the loss to Ripon. In the game at Livingston, Briana Vazquez, Macie Vickers and Grace Spurgeon each had a pair of runs batted in. Emily Vickers and Macie Vickers both went 4-for-5 on the day.



Wednesday’s meet results for April 19; the varsity boys took a 66-65 win over the Wolves while the varsity girls fell by a 69-62 decision.

“It was a very close meet,” noted head coach Carrie Nash, who also provided the following results.

Varsity Boys – Top Three Places: 100m 2nd Logan Anderson 11.96, 3rd Joshua Graham 11.97; 200m 3rd Owen Nash 24.33; 400m 1st Andrew Morales 55.83; 800m 2nd Andrew Morales 2:15.74.

110m HH 1st Trenton Epps 22.47, 2nd AJ Cerasi 22.48, 3rd Gabriel Cortes 22.92; 300m LH 2nd Julian Gonzalez 49.91, 3rd Trenton Epps 51.10; 4x100m relay 1st, (Anderson, Graham, Reider, Nash) 46.20.

Shot Put 1st Jose Romero 35'8.5", 2nd Ben Lora 35'6", 3rd Jacob Rauch 34'2"; Discus 1st Owen Nash 111'1", 2nd Jacob Rauch 107'3.5", 3rd Jose Romero 103'8"; High Jump 1st Owen Nash 6'0"; Pole Vault 2nd Marcos Grajeda 6'6"; Long Jump 1st Logan Anderson 19'5", 3rd Tony Epps 15'10".

Varsity Girls – Top Three Places: 100m 1st Cali Granis 13.27, 2nd Alyssa Ball 13.32, 3rd Megan Silva 13.36; 200m 1st Cali Granis 27.77, 2nd Alyssa Ball 28.03, Megan Silva 28.26; 400m 3rd Reagan Barker 1:13.21.

100HH 1st Katelyn Rodriguez 19.48, 2nd Madison Webster 20.92, 3rd Kaitlyn Kjellberg 21.62; 300mLH 1st Katelyn Rodriguez 56.96, 2nd Kaitlyn Kjellberg 103.25; 4x100m relay 1st (Barron, Silva, Ball, Granis); 4x400 1st, (Barker, Gonzales, Rodriguez, Lang).

Shot Put 2nd Chloe Farley 29'3", 3rd Shelby-Lynn Kessler 29'.05"; Discus 2nd Chloe Farley 83'; High Jump 2nd Chloe Fraser 4'2", 3rd Sammy Lang 4'2"; Long Jump 2nd Alondra Gonzalez 14'3.73", 3rd M. Webster 12'3".

On Saturday, the team traveled to the Hal Clements Invitational in Angels Camp and had a few athletes earning medal, presented to the top three in each division. There were 18 schools competing, said Nash.

Frosh/Soph Boys: 1600m 2nd Nate Millard 5:12.17.

Varsity Boys: High Jump 1st Owen Nash 6'2"; 4x100m 3rd (Anderson, Graham, Reider, Nash) 45.57; 3200m 3rd Jose Calderon 11:27.16.

Frosh/Soph Girls: 2nd 4x400m (Berchtold, Kjellberg, Fahey, Gonzalez); Shot Put 1st Gloria Segura 25'5"; Discus 2nd Gloria Segura 74'5".

Varsity Girls: 100m 3rd Cali Granis 13.55; 200m 1st Alyssa Ball 28.04.

“Andrew Morales was 4th in the varsity 800m, 2:17.25, and 7th in the 1600m, 5:16.79, Jose Calderon was 8th in the 1600m, 5:20.14, Logan Anderson was 6th in the long jump, 19'7",” added Nash of strong performances that didn’t result in medals. “Sophomore Kaitlyn Kjellberg was 5th in the 100mHH, 21.20, Trenton Epps was 8th in the 300m HH, 49.96, senior Shelby-Lynn Kessler was 7th in the discus, 82'10". It was a day of great weather and good competition.”

This week the team is at Hughson on April 26 and then will take the frosh/soph squad to Ripon to compete in the Frosh/Soph Championships.



In a busy week, the Cougar tennis team defeated Ripon by a 6-3 final, then lost to Hughson by a tough 5-4 verdict. A win over Hughson would have clinched the league title outright; as it was, the Cougars share the TVL title with Hughson and Riverbank.

“Friday was our league tournament, Isabella Nalbandian and Rylie Lattig played against all the girls singles in our league and ended up earning the one and two spots going into individual Sections on May 15, Isabella at number one seed and Rylie at number two seed,” said head coach Julianne Eavenson. “Isabella was 10-0 in league this year and on top of receiving All-League status she was awarded Most Outstanding female in our league.”

Lattig went 9-0; she missed one match during the season. She also received All-TVL honors, as did teammates Makayla Wentzell and Faye Hernandez, Sawyer Mello and Jack Anderson, Kali Castellanos and Brittany Dugo, and Joshua Schut.

Earning a first-round bye into playoffs, the coach said she anticipated they will have their first playoff match at home, most likely on May 8.



On Tuesday, April 18 the golf boys had a 9-hole match against Ripon Christian at the Jack Tone Golf Course.

“TJ McNeil had the best score out of everybody with a two over 37,” said coach Brandon Hoover. “Gabe Mouw played well, shooting a 45.”

Thursday featured a league tournament at Rancho Del Rey in Atwater, a tough course to play.

“Highlight of the tournament for us was Scott Alan shooing a career best 103,” said Hoover. “Everyone else struggled.”

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Several Cougar tennis players received All-TVL honors for their outstanding play this season. From left, Isabella Nalbandian, Sawyer Mello, Jack Anderson, Makayla Wentzell, Rylie Lattig, Faye Hernandez, Joshua Schut, Brittany Dugo, Kali Castellanos. Photo Contributed
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Cougar Logan Anderson was the winner of the long jump event during a meet against Livingston on April 19; the Trans-Valley League competition was hosted at Riverbank’s Angelo Novi Field and the varsity boys edged out the Wolves. Ric McGinnis/The Times