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Two Big League Wins For Varsity Baseball
Taking the week's first game by a single run in extra innings, the Escalon varsity Cougars then roughed up Ripon in a 12-0 decision on Thursday.

In action on the home field April 5, the Cougars won 2-1 in eight innings.

"They got one in the first, five pitches into the game we were down," said coach Greg Largent.

Ripon capitalized on two errors and an infield single to get a run home. Escalon tied it in the sixth with a clutch at bat from Trey Balber.

Matt Valencia stroked a one-out single, pinch hitter Matt Roberson moved him up on a ball hit to deep second. On a 3-2 count, Balber ripped an RBI single to tie the game.

Escalon looked as though they would win it in regulation, runners at first and second in the seventh with Aaron Pangilinan at the plate, but he lined a screamer to second for the final out on the caught line drive.

In the eighth, Valencia was hit by a pitch and moved to second when a pick off throw went awry. Balber sent a deep fly ball to right that allowed Valencia to advance to third and then with Brandon Shaw at the plate, a passed ball allowed Valencia to score the winning run.

Escalon had two runs on seven hits with three errors. Ripon had one run on two hits with one error. Pangilinan went the distance, striking out 11 and walking none in throwing 104 pitches.

Big hitters were Josh Miguel, 2-for-4, Patrick Mulry, 2-for-3, with singles from Valencia, Balber and Shaw.

Thursday, with Ripon serving as host school, Largent said he was anticipating another tight showdown with the Indians but the Cougars erupted to score six runs in the fourth, putting the game away and winning by the final of 12-0.

Patrick Mulry had a solo homer in the first to put Escalon ahead, then they sent 10 men to the plate in the fourth, the big blows a three-run homer from Miguel and a two-run double from Pangilinan.

Five more runs in the seventh came on a Miguel RBI and a grand slam from Mulry.

"Matt Valencia started, he allowed no runs on four hits with 12 strikeouts and one hit batter, he threw 96 pitches," Largent said of the stellar effort. "There were really two different storylines this week, that real tight first game and then we just erupted."

Miguel was 2-for-3 with four RBI, Mulry, 4-for-4, five RBI; Pangilinan, 1-for-4, two RBI; Valencia, 1-for-3, RBI. Shaw, Balber, James Hill and Robbie Steves also added hits.

It also was a game in which Steves - a sophomore - officially became one of the team, said Largent.

"They threatened in the bottom of the third, with two on and one out, there was a ball to deep short and Miguel made the throw to Robbie at third for the force play," Largent explained. "The Ripon guy just kind of slid through the bag, took Robbie out, but Robbie jumped right up to tag him out, hard, and the guys responded to that. That kind of woke the sleeping giant, that's when we took care of business."

Largent said his team knew Ripon would be a tough challenge and while hoping for a split before the week, he was thrilled to bag a pair.

They were home to host Orestimba yesterday, Tuesday, after The Times went to press and travel to Orestimba on Thursday. They will also play Saturday, April 16 at Stagg.