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Varsity Softball Girls Top Ripon Christian, Hughson
Escalon's varsity softball girls got a pair of important wins this week, beating Ripon Christian on the road and holding off Hughson at home.

The victories helped the Lady Cougars keep pace with Modesto Christian in the race for the league title.

At RC on Tuesday, April 13, the team saw starting pitcher Caitlin Brooks pulled in the second inning after being called for several illegal pitches by the umpire.

"It ends up being a ball," coach Dianne Teixeira said of the illegal pitch call.

Ripon Christian cashed in by scoring on a walked in run courtesy of the balls called on illegal pitches, so Teixeira pulled Brooks.

Jen Shipley came on in relief, getting a rare chance to take the mound.

"Jen did very well, she went five-plus innings," Teixeira said. "She was in left field, we brought her in once he (umpire) started calling the illegal pitches and it was great for Jen to get that."

Shipley got credit for the win, striking out five, giving up just one hit and walking three.

RC took the lead with one run in the second, Escalon got two in the sixth and one in the seventh for the victory.

In the sixth, Lounette Jackson doubled, Breanna Silveira singled to drive her in and then Katie Heflin followed with an RBI double to take the 2-1 lead. In the seventh, Shipley reached on an error, followed by a walk, Rachel Frasier reached on an error and Jackson drove in a run with a single.

Escalon had seven hits on the day and one error. Ripon Christian had just one hit and committed three errors.

At home on Thursday, it was a hard fought 4-3 win for the Lady Cougars, getting out of a top of the seventh jam with some good defense and holding off visiting Hughson.

In the third, Escalon got all four of their runs, Silveira getting on with a single, Tori Jones was hit by a pitch and Casey Schmidig singled to drive in Silveira. Frasier then ripped a three-run homer over the left field fence to make it 4-0.

Hughson countered with two runs in the fourth and added one more in the seventh but left the tying run on third base. The final hitter sent a hard grounder toward short, and Brooks came off the mound to get a glove on it but was only able to deflect it. Hard-charging shortstop Sam Lorigo quickly adjusted as the ball slowed and changed direction, scooping it up and firing a strike to Shipley at first to record the final out by a half step.

"Sam made a nice play, they were threatening," Teixeira said. "With Hughson, we know they always hit well and I told the girls not to be satisfied with four but defensively, we played well."

Brooks went the distance in the Thursday game, allowing three runs on four hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.

Escalon had six hits, including a double from Schmidig and a triple from Jackson along with the home run by Frasier. Neither team had an error.

The wins pushed Escalon to 6-1 in league play, tied with Modesto Christian, which dropped a contest to Riverbank last week. Escalon was slated to host the Lady Bruins on Tuesday, after The Times went to press, and will travel to Riverbank on Thursday.

The girls are now 16-2 overall.