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Trio Of Non-League Games For Cougar Baseball
It was the ‘brother battery’ starting the game for the varsity baseball Cougars on Saturday, April 30 against Linden, with senior Josh Miller sending the pitch toward the plate, and brother Jamin Miller, a sophomore, handling the catching duties. Marg Jackson/The Times

With a league bye week, the Escalon baseball program got in some games, facing off twice with Central Valley of Ceres and welcoming Linden to town.

The games with the Central Valley Hawks were on the road Tuesday, April 26; at home on Thursday, April 28; and finally Linden coming in for a Saturday morning contest, April 30.



The varsity squad went 0-for-3 for the week, first falling on the road by a 3-1 final to Central Valley.

“It was a very good game,” said head coach Greg Largent. “They went up 2-0 in the first, we got our run in the third.”

With one out, Colton Page singled, Cam Ruiz walked and Nico Franzia came through with an RBI single. Central Valley added one more in the fifth to seal the win.

“We wasted a great pitching performance from Orion Hoover, he went six innings, struck out five and threw 85 pitches,” Largent said.

Along with driving in the run, Franzia also had a triple and Jamin Miller added a hit. The Cougars had a nice 4-6-3 double play to erase a scoring threat in the first.

Thursday on the home field, it “was a good game for three innings,” said Largent, but the Cougars lost 12-2 in five.

Central Valley scored two in the first and Escalon tied it up in the bottom of the inning. Ruiz had a leadoff single, Josh Miller walked and a wild pitch moved them up. Ruiz scored on a Jamin Miller sacrifice fly, Josh Miller scored on a wild pitch.

But the Hawks scored three in the third, four in the fourth and three in the fifth for the win.

Parker Saunders, Zack Valencia and Tyler Medina all got some work in on the mound.

Saturday’s game featured recognition for the senor players and their families, with Linden and Escalon then battling to a 1-1 tie through six innings. The Lions then scored four runs in the top of the seventh and walked off with the 5-1 win.

Senior JP Lial scored Escalon’s run in the second. He walked, took second on a failed pickoff attempt, stole third and scored on a fielder’s choice by Franzia.

Josh Miller pitched out of several jams in the first three innings and went 4-and-a-third, pitching to his brother, Jamin, who handled the catching duties.

Josh Fiori took the loss and Orion Hoover also got in to pitch.

Seniors honored were Tyler Medina, Orion Hoover, Alfonzo Gonzalez, Josh Miller, JP Lial, Justin Fiori and Nolan Reynolds, with senior Mark Valente unable to attend.

“We provide a bouquet of flowers for the players to give their mom and all the boys also sign a baseball with a message to give to their dad,” Largent said of a Cougar tradition.



Tuesday, the JV boys got a 9-6 win on the road, scoring seven runs in the first inning and hanging on for the victory.

“Jackson Runnels pitched five innings and was the winning pitcher, we also hit the ball pretty well and had 11 hits as a team,” said coach Kin Baptista.

Greg Adams and Jackson Runnels each had two hits.

Leadoff hitter Nate Krieger went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBIs.

Thursday at home, it was a different story as the JV Cougars fell in a 16-6 final to the visiting Hawks.

“They can hit and they are a good team,” Baptista said.

Krieger went 2-for-3 and freshman Ian Burk also added two hits.

Saturday, the JV boys took an 8-4 loss to Linden in what most likely was their season finale. That put them at 11-7 overall, and they compiled a 5-3 record in league.

“We battled, we just couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it,” Baptista said of losing to Linden.

jv pickoff
Escalon pitcher Ryan Murphy takes a look at the runner leading off as first baseman Darius Higby gets ready for the potential pick-off throw in junior varsity action on Saturday, April 30. Marg Jackson/The Times