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Two League Losses, One Win For Varsity Baseball Boys
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Getting back to the bag ahead of the pick-off attempt, Nico Franzia of Escalon dives in during action on Friday, April 8 as the Cougars hosted the Hughson Huskies, falling in extra innings. Marg Jackson/The Times

A make-up game with Riverbank went in the win column on Saturday, but two games with Hughson earlier in the week were both losses for the varsity Cougar baseball team.

On the road Wednesday, April 6, it was a tough 6-2 loss to the Huskies for Escalon.

“We played a little better but they took a 3-0 lead in the first and added two in the second,” said head coach Greg Largent. “We got our runs in the fourth; after two out, Zack Valencia singled, Jamin Miller singled and Colton Page had a two-run triple.”

That cut the lead to 3-2, but Hughson scored one more in the fifth, two in the sixth to seal the win.

“We just couldn’t get anything going offensively, we only had six hits and Josh Miller had a couple of them,” Largent said.

Mark Valente went five innings; Josh Miller pitched the final two.

Friday, the game started out badly, as Hughson took advantage of Escalon miscues, including a dropped fly ball and some errors, combined with a couple of hits, to open up a 5-0 lead.

Cam Ruiz walked, moved to second on a ground out and scored on a Valente single in the bottom of the first to make it 5-1.

The teams traded runs in the fourth, Escalon getting a leadoff double from Jamin Miller and an RBI single from Page to make it 6-2.

Two walks, an error and some solid hitting by Hughson saw five more runs score in the fifth, the Huskies taking an 11-2 lead.

“Darned if we didn’t tie it up in the bottom of the inning,” Largent said of a spirited comeback from his team. “We scored nine runs in the inning, sent 15 batters to the plate.”

Neither team could get any runs across in the sixth or seventh but Hughson broke through for five in the eighth and used that to take the 16-11 victory.

Parker Saunders got the start and took the loss though he only gave up four earned runs.

“You can’t spot a good team five runs,” Largent said. “But it was a proud moment to watch them fight.”

Nico Franzia was 3-for-5 with two RBI; Valente 2-for-5 with two RBI; Cam Ruiz, 1-for-4 with a pair of RBI.

Saturday, the Cougars went to Riverbank for a make-up game and ended up with an 18-8 win.

“We had 16 hits, our platoon guys got to play,” Largent said, adding that though it seemed to be a lopsided win, it was never a comfortable lead.

Alfonso Gonzalez had a hit and an RBI, Orion Hoover notched a triple and three RBI; Austin Ewing did some catching and threw out a runner; Valente had a solo home run in the second.

Pitching were Zack Valencia and Josh Fiore.

“We took advantage of some misplays they made, the other side of what we usually do,” Largent said.

He also added that it was nice to see some offense in the past couple of outings.

“We scored 30 runs in two games,” he said.

This week, they face Hilmar, hosting the Yellowjackets on April 13, traveling to Hilmar on April 14.



It was a split of games for Escalon’s JV baseball boys, losing at Hughson and winning at home against the Huskies.

They lost the April 6 game at Hughson, 14-4.

Escalon got a first inning run, Nate Krieger leading off with a single and stealing second, scoring on a Gregg Adams single. Hughson, however, scored four in the bottom of the first.

“We put together a late fifth inning rally when we scored three more runs, highlighted by a Darius Higby two-RBI single,” said head coach Ken Baptista.

Ian Burk was 2-for-3 with two singles, Wyatt Cox started on the mound and took the loss as the Huskies never trailed after the bottom of the first.

“Friday we won 7-5 in a hard fought, back and forth contest,” Baptista added of the second game of the series. “Jackson Runnels started on the mound and pitched four innings, only give up two runs. He also went 3-for-4 at the plate with three singles and three RBIs. He also stole three bases.”

Treye Ingram helped the offense, going 2-for-4 with a key late inning double.

“After giving up the lead in the top of the sixth, we bounced back and scored three in the bottom half,” said Baptista. “Nate Krieger had a game-tying single and Jackson Runnels a two-RBI go ahead single.”

Ian Burk got the win in relief, throwing the final three innings for his longest appearance on the mound this season.

“The game was capped off with a tailor made 6-4-3 double play,” Baptista said.

The young Cougars will be in action this week, hosting Hilmar on Wednesday and going to Hilmar for a game on Thursday, April 14.

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JV player Ian Burk beats the throw to first, leaping into the air after touching the bag during Friday afternoon action at home against Hughson. Marg Jackson/The Times