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Varsity Diamondmen Pack Four Games Into Week
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With only one practice as a full team under their belts, Escalon's varsity baseball team had a hectic pace for the week, playing four games.

They were on the road Tuesday, March 8 for a game at defending Section champion Linden and took a 10-3 loss.

"It was kind of a rush day," explained varsity coach Greg Largent. "We got over there and played and had to come back for basketball, we played the game a little shorthanded."

The Cougars gave up three runs in the first inning and four in the second, falling behind 7-0 before they were able to muster any offense.

"Linden was the Section champs and they didn't lose too many guys," Largent said of facing the loaded squad.

"We scored one run in the fourth on a Jared August home run, that broke up the no-hitter and the shutout with one swing," said Largent.

In the fifth, the Cougars got another, Colin Riggs walked and went to second on a wild pitch, then scored on a two-out RBI single from Phil Parrish.

With one out in the sixth, Pete Krumeich doubled, Steve Largent followed with a double to drive him home, cutting the deficit to 7-3.

"They scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth," Largent said, noting that Linden put the game out of reach.

"We only had five hits and we had 11 strikeouts," Largent added.

Ross Brayton had a single to round out the Cougar hits.

The varsity squad played in the Manteca Tournament with Thursday, Friday and Saturday games, hosting an opening round contest at Escalon with Davis on Thursday.

"We played a really good game, we lost 4-3 in eight innings," Largent explained. "We fell behind 2-0 and we gave up too many walks, we allowed 10."

Trailing by two runs in the bottom of the fifth, the Cougars got a leadoff single from Parrish, who then stole second. Largent grounded out but moved the runner to third, where Parrish was able to score on an error.

Two more runs came in on a sixth inning rally, giving the Cougars a 3-2 lead.

Brian Beeman walked, Scott Sand reached on an error and August walked to load the bases. A double play ball from Brayton got one run home, then Krumeich singled in August with the go-ahead run.

"After two quick outs in the top of the seventh, we gave up a single, a walk and a single that tied the game," Largent explained.

The Cougars couldn't get the run back in their half of the seventh and the teams went to the eighth. After one out, Davis got things going with a double, an error and then a single to right field that brought the run home. Escalon did not score in the bottom of the eighth, giving Davis the win.

"We only could muster three hits on the day," Largent said, noting that the squad faced some strong pitching.

Davis took advantage of Escalon miscues and capitalized on the walks, with all of their runs unearned.

Friday, the boys came back strong with a 7-4 win vs. Bear River, jumping out with three runs in the second inning.

August singled and moved to second on a balk, Largent followed with an RBI single. Justin Chandley singled, Grant Goedhart got on with a bunt attempt that saw the lead runner forced at third. Beeman then drove in two runs with a double to give Escalon a 3-0 lead.

"They answered with four runs, took the lead 4-3 and scored with two outs," Largent said.

Playing that game as the visitors, Escalon rallied for four runs in their final at bat to take a 7-4 lead.

"With one out, Brayton singled, Krumeich singled," explained Largent. "With two outs, Parrish singled for an RBI, Largent walked, Jordan Ramirez singled home two runs and then Goedhart had an RBI single."

Krumeich came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh, closing it out in fine fashion.

"He threw five pitches and got us out of there," noted Largent.

Parrish and Goedhart both had strong outings on the mound that day as well.

Saturday, the Cougars wrapped up the tournament, playing in the third place game against Manteca.

"We took a 15-14 loss, it was a slugfest and there were 11 errors on our part, we gave up five runs in the first," Largent said. "Jared August started and he just had a rough outing, he allowed three singles, two walks and had two hit batters."

That was in the first inning alone and Joey Pinasco was brought in to relieve August early.

"He did a great job, we're very pleased with his work, he got strikes and he had also done well against Linden so that has been kind of a bright spot for us," Largent said.

Down 5-0 early, the Cougars did scratch back for three runs in the second, with the teams battling back and forth, Escalon cutting the lead to 9-8 by the sixth inning.

"Then we gave up six runs in the sixth," the coach said.

But the Cougars came back and had the tying run at third, the go ahead run at second before Manteca closed it out with a 15-14 win.

"We've only had one practice with the whole team," pointed out Largent. "We've been competitive, Jared and Phil are hitting ball real well."

Lundell Berdion stepped in to handle the catching on Saturday and did well behind the plate, with Largent anticipating a good season once the team has had time to settle in.

"We're a work in progress," he said.

This week, the boys will be on the road Wednesday, March 16 at San Andreas to play Calaveras. Trans-Valley League action starts Wednesday, March 23 with the Cougars hosting Hughson at 3:30 p.m.