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Varsity Baseball Hands Two Losses To Rival Riverbank
Finally kicking off the Trans-Valley League season, Escalon's varsity baseball boys make it two straight over the Bruins, winning 11-2 and 16-1.

Tuesday, the Bruins traveled to Escalon and took an early one-run lead, cashing in on a double and single in the first inning.

"We answered back, scoring four runs in the bottom of the frame," said coach Greg Largent.

A walk to Josh Miguel, a single by Gino Franceschetti, RBI single from Patrick Mulry and a two-run triple from Matt Valencia, who then scored on an overthrow of third, plated the four runs.

Riverbank added its second un in the third with a couple of hits but again, Escalon answered back, this time with an RBI triple from Robbie Steves after Valencia reached on an error. The host Cougars went on to add three runs more in the fourth and three in the fifth to take the contest by the 11-2 final.

"All our runs in the fourth came with two outs," Largent explained. "Gino singled, Mulry walked, Valencia walked and Steves had a three-run triple off the left field fence."

A two-run triple from Miguel and RBI single from Mulry in the fifth capped the scoring.

"Nathan Chunn got the start, his first of the year and went six strong innings, allowed two runs, four hits and struck out six," Largent said of the solid performance.

Alec Nerland pitched the seventh in relief.

Thursday, the team traveled to Riverbank for the second half of the 'home and home' and they were without four players, all taking part in the school's Every 15 Minutes. Gone were Franceschetti, Phillip Kimble, Trey Balber and Jake Hood. And despite the 'weird' feel to the contest with the loss of so many teammates, Largent had praise for those that remained.

"The reserves got some time and did a good job, in particular Alec Nerland at second base and Josh Vandagriff in the outfield, they were ready and they contributed."

Nerland was 2-for-5 with an RBI and Vandagriff got the Cougars going with a two-run single in the third. Also contributing was Tad Dimas, with an RBI single and a couple of nice catches in the outfield.

Escalon got one run in the first, four in the third, three in the sixth and eight in the seventh. Steves had an RBI double in the third to join in with Vandagriff's two runs batted in, while Nerland put down a perfect sacrifice bunt to get the runner into scoring position in the first. Mulry had a double, Steves a single and Matt Roberson an RBI triple in the sixth.

"We broke it open in the seventh, all with one out, we sent seven straight guys up to the plate, they all had singles," Largent said.

Riverbank got its one run in the sixth.

Brent Montgomery threw well for Escalon, allowing just two hits and striking out nine in six innings pitched. Valencia threw an inning of relief.

Escalon rapped out 18 hits on the day.

They started a Saturday game with Beyer but were forced to call it due to rain. They hope to make it up at a later date.

"We had a good week but we're still looking for that flawless game," Largent said.

The Cougars were scheduled to play at Ripon on Tuesday, after The Times went to press and will be home to host the Indians on Thursday, April 5.