After losing a 12-2 decision on the home diamond Tuesday, the varsity baseball Cougars put up much more of a fight Thursday on the road, but still fell a little short. They lost both games this week to the Lancers of East Union.
Hosting the Manteca area school on April 6, head coach Greg Largent said though they ultimately lost by 10 runs, it was a close game early.
“East Union scored a single run in the first, we answered with two runs in the bottom of the first and took the 2-1 lead, though it was short-lived,” Largent explained.
After one out, Cam Maruyama singled and Luke Anderson sent a ball up the middle that was used to force Maruyama out at second. Bryce McPherrin was then hit by a pitch and both runners advanced on a passed ball. That put runners on second and third, and both were able to score on a misplayed infield pop-up from Demetrius Teixeira.
That would be all the runs Escalon would score, however, and East Union took advantage of some Cougar miscues in the next inning. They had the bases loaded with two outs and a dropped fly ball allowed three runs to score, putting the Lancers in front. They would go on to add more runs in the fourth and fifth innings, taking a 12-2 win off the field.
“After the misplayed fly ball, you could just see they were deflated,” Largent explained. “Ty Harris started and he got roughed up quite a bit, he allowed 10 hits in three-and-two-thirds innings of work, walked three and struck out two.”
Nine of the 12 East Union runs were charged to Harris, five of them earned.
Josh Miller came in to pitch one-and-a-third innings of relief, allowing three runs, two of them earned.
“They had 13 hits, we hit the ball hard but right at them, we only had two hits,” said Largent.
Maruyama had an infield single; Mark Valente had a single in the fourth.
Thursday, the varsity headed to Manteca for a rematch.
“We lost a dogfight, 2-1,” the coach said.
In the Cougar third inning, JP Lial was hit by a pitch with one out, Cameron Ruiz walked and McPherrin singled to load the bases.
“Luke Anderson then had a great nine-pitch at bat that ended with a sacrifice fly to deep center,” Largent said. “We held that 1-0 lead until the fifth inning.”
In East Union’s fifth inning, there was an out, an error and a single, followed by a double steal that put runners on second and third. After a pop up out, an intentional walk loaded the bases and the tying run then scored on a wild pitch.
“It was 1-1 into the top of the sixth; we got a leadoff double from Luke and a single from Cam Maruyama so we had runners at the corners with no outs,” Largent said. “Then we had two strikeouts, an intentional walk to Ty Harris and a third strikeout.”
Pablo Macias had gone in to run for Maruyama and stole second, so the Cougars actually had two runners in scoring position with no outs before the strikeouts ended the threat.
East Union cashed in on a couple of walks, stolen bases and a sacrifice fly to take the 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth.
“We went quietly in the seventh,” added Largent.
The bright spot of the game was the pitching performance of Demetrius Teixeira, coming off arm surgery.
“We put him on a pitch count,” Largent said, noting that Teixeira went three innings, struck out five, walked three and hit one batter.
McPherrin came on in relief and ended up taking the loss.
“We only gave up one hit and lost,” Largent said. “But it was a great comeback from the two days prior.”
Largent also was pleased with the play of Lial at third base and Ruiz again tracking down some tough ones in the outfield.
The team will lose Maruyama to previously scheduled surgery; Nico Franzia will move up from the JV team to take on the catching duties.
“Next man up,” Largent said. “This will be a good year for him to get some work in.”
This week will see the Cougars taking on Central Catholic for a pair of games, Tuesday on the road and Thursday at home, April 13 and 15.
It was the first time on the diamond for Escalon’s junior varsity baseball boys this past week, playing a pair of contests with East Union.
“We lost 14-3 to East Union at home on Tuesday (April 6) and it really was just getting the kinks out, we had no scrimmages and East Union had already played four games,” explained JV head coach Ken Baptista. “We fell behind 4-0 and just tried to play catch up from there.”
The young Escalon team had five hits on the afternoon and high points were a two-RBI single from Wyatt Cox in the fourth inning as well as a 2-for-2 day for Ryker Peters.
“Thursday we only had 10 guys,” Baptista noted of the road trip to Manteca to face off with East Union.
This time, it was a much closer contest, though it still ended in a loss, falling 9-5.
“Freshman Greg Adams started, he pitched four innings, gave up two hits and they only scored three runs off him,” said Baptista. “He did a really great job, mixed up his pitches, kept them off balance.”
The game was knotted 4-4 through five innings but the JV relief corps, coming on to take over for Adams, couldn’t keep the lid on the East Union team, as they erupted for five runs in the sixth.
Escalon got one back in the seventh but was unable to complete the comeback and took their second loss of the week.
“We improved,” the coach said. “We were in that game, it was back and forth.”
Logan Anderson, Ryker Peters and Jackson Runnels each had an RBI; Adams was 2-for-4 with two RBI.
This week, the team was scheduled to play at Central Catholic on April 13 and will host the Raiders in a 4 p.m. contest Thursday, April 15.