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Trans-Valley League Title First Step For Varsity Baseball Boys
A shutout win at home and a blowout win on the road helped Escalon's varsity boys keep their Trans-Valley League baseball record spotless, improving to 10-0 with two wins over Hilmar.

They hosted the Yellowjackets on May 3 and took that game by a 6-0 final.

"We got three in the first inning, one in the second," noted coach Greg Largent.

Single runs also came in the fifth and sixth innings and the game was a one-hitter for starting pitcher Aaron Pangilinan, who gave up a leadoff single. He had 15 strikeouts on the day and walked four.

Escalon got off on the right foot with a leadoff single from Josh Miguel, who then stole second. After a pop out, Patrick Mulry drilled an RBI double. Pangilinan followed with an RBI single and, after the second out, Robbie Steves singled to drive in Pangilinan.

A leadoff walk to Brandon Shaw cost Hilmar in the second, James Hill reaching on an error, Miguel getting on with a walk and Shaw scoring on a Mulry sacrifice fly.

In the fifth, Trey Balber had "his best at bat of the year," said Largent, drilling a 3-1 pitch over the center field fence to make it 5-0.

A leadoff solo homer from Miguel in the sixth capped the scoring.

Escalon had 10 hits, with Miguel leading the way, 3-for-3 with an RBI, while Steves was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Thursday on the road at Hilmar, it was a 17-2 victory for the Cougars.

"The 6-0 game was a lot closer than it sounded, it seemed like at any point, Hilmar could break through," Largent said.

His team was determined to get the jump early on the road, and pushed five runs across the plate in the first inning. Keys were an RBI triple from Mulry, RBI singles from Pangilinan and Matt Valencia and a two-run double by Matt Roberson.

Five more runs in the second gave Escalon a 10-0 lead. A Steves RBI double, Valencia RBI single, an error and a dropped fly ball helped account for the runs.

"They got a single run in the third, unearned," Largent said of Hilmar. "But in the fifth, we erupted for seven runs."

Nearly everyone got in on the hit parade, with a single from Pangilinan, a double by Gino Franceschetti, RBI singles from Valencia and Shaw, RBI doubles from Mulry and Steves and a two-run double from Miguel.

For the game, Escalon had 17 runs on 16 hits. They committed two errors. Hilmar had two runs on four hits and they committed seven errors.

The host Yellowjackets got their second run in the bottom of the fifth, parlaying a one-out double, a ground out and a passed ball into the run.

Valencia got the start and threw a complete game, going five innings due to the 10-run rule, and scattered four hits. He walked one and struck out 12.

"With the victory, we clinched the TVL title and we know we are the number one seed from the TVL," said Largent. "We will open up playoffs on May 18 at 4 pm. at Tony Zupo Field in Lodi and we will play the winner of the 'play-in' game, between the Mother Lode League number three seed and the Golden Empire League three seed."

Escalon is now 22-3 overall and close out league with a home game today, Wednesday, May 11 against Modesto Christian.

Recognition will be given to the team's three seniors, Brandon Shaw, Aaron Pangilinan and James Hill.

"No one was overly excited," Largent said of the Cougars claming the title with two games still to go. "We did check off a couple of things, the league title and clinching the playoff spot, but after last year, we want to get back to the (Section) championship ... the guys know there are still things to accomplish, they've handled it well, they have been focused."