They may have won two out of their three games this week, but the Escalon varsity baseball team was somewhat of a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ on the diamond.
That, according to head coach Greg Largent, who said the team played both very well and very poorly during the course of their three non-league contests. They got wins over Patterson and Stagg but lost by a large margin to Enochs.
Tuesday, March 12 they hosted Patterson and worked out an 8-5 victory.
“Ty Harris pitched a great game, he took a one-hitter into the seventh,” said Largent.
A walk, an error, an infield single and another walk to drive in a run cost the Cougars the shutout and knocked Harris off the mound in the seventh. Zach Hearn came on in relief and had a tough go, walking three and seeing the defense allow a two-run error. Before the inning was over, it was 8-5, but the Cougars held on for the win.
“Ethan Johnson came in and got a five-pitch save,” Largent said. “We were cruising along, it was a well-played game until the seventh.”
Lucca Dutra made some great plays at third and Luke Anderson had three hits on the day, as did Dutra. Harris went 2-for-4, driving in a pair of runs.
“There were a lot of positives,” agreed Largent.
There wasn’t much positive to say about a Wednesday, March 13 game when the Cougars hosted Enochs.
“We want to quickly forget this one,” Largent said, with the Cougars allowing 19 runs on 22 hits while committing nine errors.
Enochs took a 1-0 lead early, but Escalon answered back with two runs in the bottom of the first to go up 2-1. Dutra was hit by a pitch and Cole Gilbert cashed in with a two-run homer.
The visitors added more runs in the second and third, but the Cougars battled back, tying it up with four runs in the third, scoring all of the runs with two outs.
“Then it got ugly real fast,” said Largent. “Stuff that was almost comical; they took a 13-6 lead, we got one in the fifth to make it 13-7, then we gave up six runs with two outs in the seventh, they won it 19-7; they missed the two-point conversion.”
Carson George pitched four innings, Johnson pitched two and Nash Satnat threw the final inning. Gilbert had three RBI on the day, Bryce McPherrin added two hits and two RBI.
Having to put the game out of their minds, Escalon was back on the field for a Friday night game under the lights at Stagg.
The first inning seemed to be a bit of a carryover, with three errors on three successive batters, putting the Cougars in a 3-0 hole.
In the second, Devin Roberson tripled and scored to make it 3-1, Stagg added one in the second for a 4-1 lead.
“We scored a run in the third, McPherrin singled and scored on a two-out triple by Satnat to make it 4-2,” Largent explained.
In the fifth, Clay Evans got on with a single, stole a base and got to third on a wild pitch but was stranded there as three successive Cougars struck out.
The sixth inning saw an RBI double from Gilbert, a single and stolen base from Roberson and a two-strike drive over second base from pinch hitter Brad Hagglund to put Escalon up 5-4. Stagg tied it in the bottom of that inning but the Cougars got the insurance runs they needed in the top of seventh. Roman Gonzalez worked out a pinch hit walk, Harris moved him over on a sacrifice bunt, Dutra hit a fly ball that got lost in the lights and dropped in for a hit, allowing Gonzalez to score, Gilbert then followed with an RBI double to make it 7-5.
“We escaped a jam in the bottom of the seventh, they got the leadoff runner on but we got a nice double play from Dutra to Clayton Ferreira to Gilbert, then after two walks, we got a ground out to end the game,” Largent said.
Gilbert went five innings, McPherrin went two innings in relief and got the win.
“It was a crazy week, up, down, in the Enochs game, we took an injury to Luke Anderson, a shoulder injury,” Largent noted, with his status for this week’s games and beyond pending.
“We ended preseason at 5-4, we learned a lot, fought through tough weather and some freezing days,” Largent added. “Clay Evans is doing a great job behind the plate, he has taken over the starting role there and that frees Nash Satnat up for other duties. Against Enochs, our bench guys were ready and contributed, that’s a good sign.”
The boys were slated to host Riverbank in the Trans-Valley League season opener on Tuesday, March 19 after The Times went to press and will be at Riverbank on Thursday, March 21 at 4 p.m. They also have a non-league Saturday game, 11 a.m., scheduled on the road at Oakdale.