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Varsity Cougars Go 4-0 To Win Windemuth Tournament Title
Heading in to the prestigious Windemuth Tournament, Escalon varsity baseball coach Greg Largent was hoping for a split.

He knew his Cougars would be facing off with some topnotch competition and wanted them to battle hard against higher division, larger school teams.

Largent needn't have worried how this year's edition of the Cougars would do ... they came away with a 4-0 record and the championship.

"We rose to every occasion," Largent agreed. "We were down a lot, scored a lot of runs with two outs."

Best of all, said Largent, the tournament showed how much of a 'team' the Cougars are, with contributions coming from every player, whether it was crossing the plate after going in to pinch run or making a solid defensive play or getting the timely hit.

"The guys did just phenomenal," Largent said happily.

They started off the tournament with a game on Monday and followed it up with contests on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, cramming plenty of action into the four days.

"We started Monday with a tour of the Modesto Metro Conference teams, playing at Grace Davis High against Davis," Largent explained of the April 13 opener.

It came down to a 5-4 win for the Cougars in front of a capacity crowd.

It was not easy playing in their home park," he said.

Escalon trailed 1-0 before scoring three in the top of the third, all of them coming with two outs and the big blow a two-run single from Aaron Pangilinan.

Davis tied it in the bottom of the third and took the lead with one run in the fifth. Escalon tied it at 4-4 in the sixth with a Travis Cardoza RBI single and in the seventh, the Cougars got the go ahead run. After one out, Leighton Pangilinan singled, with Nick Largent advancing him on a hit and run. Charlie McDonald sent one to dead center that dropped in to score the run.

Also handling the pitching duties on the day, McDonald got the host team in order in the bottom of the seventh to get the win. He threw 118 pitches, allowing six hits while striking out seven and walking three.

Tuesday at Enochs, the Cougars won 4-3 against Enochs. They got two in the first and two runs in their final at bat to get the victory. Enochs got one run in the second, one in the third and took a 3-2 lead with one run in the fourth.

"We had our late inning dramatics in the seventh, after a ground out, Patrick Mulry walked, Travis Cardoza, our number nine hitter, sent an 0-2 pitch off the right centerfield wall for a double that moved Mulry to third," Largent explained.

Miguel walked and Franceschetti followed with a fly ball to left field that got pushed down sharply by the wind, falling in for a two-run double, Tony Gonzales scoring the winning run after going in to pinch run for Cardoza.

John Lopez went the distance, working out of jams and battling the wind, striking out seven, walking three and scattering six hits. Josh Miguel and Largent were each 2-for-3, Mulry was 2-for-2.

Back at Enochs on Wednesday, the Cougars roughed up Modesto High 11-1 in a game that long reliever Justin Martinez started and finished, taking a no hitter into the sixth inning.

"It was our third complete game from our pitchers in three days," Largent noted.

Martinez allowed just one hit to Modesto.

"The bases were loaded a couple of times, with six walks and two hit by pitches, but he worked out of jams," Largent said.

Key hits in the win were a double from Largent, a pair of doubles from Leighton Pangilinan that knocked in four runs, a triple by Miguel, plus two hits and two RBI each from Franceschetti and McDonald.

The sweep of MMC teams put Escalon into the tournament championship against Redwood Christian of San Lorenzo, a team that was 15-1 coming in.

"We faced a very tough opponent that we didn't know much about," Largent said. "During pre-game warm-ups, we saw they were a solid team and they play in a tough league."

In typical Escalon fashion, however, the Cougars chipped away, getting the timely hit and the occasional big blast, ending with a 14-4 win.

Franceschetti joined the home run parade, sending a "mammoth shot" to right field to tie the game at 1-1 in the first. The Cougars opened up the game with five successive hits in the second to take a 6-2 lead and never looked back.

Aaron Pangilinan started and went four-and-a-third innings before giving way to brother Leighton, who closed it out.

"It was a great day," Largent said of Thursday. "Spencer was one leg short of the cycle, he was 3-for-5 with four RBI and four runs scored, had a homer, triple and single."

Miguel was 2-for-3 with three runs scored; Leighton Pangilinan 3-for-5 with two RBI and McDonald, 2-for-4 at the plate in addition to making a "Brooks Robinson-type play" diving for a ball to get a crucial force out at second to squash a Redwood Christian threat.

"We scored eight runs in this game with two outs and you could just see them deflate," Largent said of their opponents. "I don't think they had seen bats like ours and we, as a coaching staff, just can't be more proud of the kids, we fought through the gauntlet of the MMC teams ... they really stepped up to the challenge."

Back to Trans-Valley League action this week, the Cougars will host Modesto Christian on Wednesday, April 22 and head there to play a game on Friday, April 24.