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Varsity Baseball Boys Win Pair Of Preseason Contests
With a pair of wins this week, Escalon's varsity baseball boys improved to 3-0 on the young season.

They were at home Wednesday and Thursday, topping Central Valley on Wednesday and Bret Harte on Thursday.

In the Wednesday, Feb. 25 game, the Cougars eked out a 10-9 win with Patrick Mulry driving in the deciding marker.

"We gave up two runs in the first, both unearned and we got one back in the bottom of the inning," head coach Greg Largent said.

Spencer Franceschetti reached on a walk, advanced on a Leighton Pangilinan single and a fly out, then scored on a passed ball to get the Cougars on the board. Two more runs came in for Escalon in the bottom of the third, Josh Miguel getting aboard with a walk and coming in two score on a two-run homer from Pangilinan.

They erupted for four more in the fourth, keyed by RBI singles from Miguel and Nick Largent and a sacrifice fly from Pangilinan.

"We were cruising, 7-2," Largent explained. "Then in the fifth I made a pitching change and we had some trouble finding the plate.

"They had a couple of walks, a three-run homer, a couple hits, and error and all of a sudden it was 7-7."

In the top of the sixth, visiting Central Valley scored two more to take the lead, 9-7, and with darkness closing in, the umpire indicated the bottom of the sixth would be the end of the game.

Trailing by two, the Cougars got things going after one out. Franceschetti reached on an error and back-to-back walks to Pangilinan and Largent, with Franceschetti coming in to score on a wild pitch during Largent's at bat. Derrick DeFreitas was then called on to put down the suicide squeeze and did so to perfection, bringing in Pangilinan with the tying run. After another out, Travis Cardoza walked and Patrick Mulry came through with a game-winning RBI single to give Escalon a 10-9 victory.

Escalon had six hits and two errors on the day; Central Valley had nine hits and two errors.

Pangilinan started and went four innings, allowing two runs, with only one earned.

Justin Martinez went just two-thirds of an inning and gave up five runs, all earned. Jon Whitesitt went one-third of an inning and John Lopez pitched one inning.

Thursday, the Cougars hosted Bret Harte and won a 7-2 contest, holding the Bullfrogs off the scoreboard until the fifth.

Aaron Pangilinan got the start and worked four innings, allowing four hits and striking out three. He was the winning pitcher.

Martinez went two innings and gave up two runs; Largent closed the game out in the seventh.

Escalon scored a single run in the second on a DeFreitas RBI sacrifice fly and exploded for five in the bottom of the third, keyed by a two-RBI single by Aaron Pangilinan and a two-run homer by Mulry.

After Bret Harte trimmed the lead to 6-2 in the fifth, Escalon got an insurance run in the sixth, Franceschetti reaching on a double, taking third on a passed ball and scoring on a wild pitch. The Cougars had six hits and two errors in the game and Bret Harte had five hits and one error.

"We're off to a pretty good start, 3-0," Largent said.

The Cougars are slated to play in the Manteca Tournament this week, weather permitting, with a game at home on Thursday, 3:30 p.m. against Weston Ranch and a Friday game at 3:30 p.m. against Enochs.