In what has been an up and down season so far for both the Escalon softball and baseball programs, the roller coaster ride continued this past week.
Softball was poised to get two wins in Trans-Valley League action but lost a heartbreaker in the final inning on the road Friday while the baseball team faced off with a powerful non-league team in El Capitan, falling at home and on the road.
Starting the week with a home game against Hughson on Wednesday, April 26, the varsity softball girls got a win via the 10-run rule, closing out the Huskies early with a 12-2 decision.
Escalon scored a run in the bottom of the third and added two in the fourth for a 3-0 lead. Hughson cut it to 3-2 with two runs in the fifth but the Lady Cougars went on a nine-run tear in the bottom of the fifth to post the victory.
Macie Vickers had an inside the park home run and drove in three on the day. Briana Vazquez was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and two RBI. Lucy Allbaugh, Madison Babasa, and Alyssa Herrera had an RBI each, Emily Vickers had two.
Friday, host Hilmar scored their runs late and got a walk off to defeat the Lady Cougars, 10-8.
“Two of our senior starters were not there and we missed their leadership on the field,” noted head coach Caitlin Brooks. “We lost a six-run lead in the bottom of the sixth. We scored in the top of the seventh; they came back and tied it again and then they hit a walk off to score the winning run.”
Big hitters for Escalon in the tough loss were Madellyn Spurgeon, going 3-for-3, Macie Vickers and Shelby Wilder each went 2-for-3. Lucy Allbaugh added three runs batted in.
Escalon scored single runs in the first and second innings and seemingly took command with four runs in the fifth, one more in the sixth. Hilmar scored one in the second to trail 7-1 entering the bottom of the sixth, when they exploded for six runs.
That knotted the game at 7-7 and Escalon was able to scratch out a run in the seventh to lead 8-7, only to see the host Yellowjackets come through with the walk off three-run rally in the bottom of the inning.
The girls have their league bye week this week and are scheduled to finish the TVL campaign with games against Riverbank on Wednesday, May 10 at home, and travel to Ripon on Thursday. May 11.
“They are the number one and two teams in TVL right now,” Brooks noted. “After those games we will see where we stand for playoffs.”
During their TVL bye week, the Cougar varsity and JV boys took on El Capitan out of Merced.
The varsity boys were shut out in a 6-0 loss on Tuesday, hosting El Capitan, but head coach Gino Franceschetti said the score was a little deceiving.
“We were only down 2-0 going into the sixth,” he explained. “El Capitan’s pitcher was really good. Despite that, we had really good at bats and we had chances to score almost every inning, we just never got the two-out hit we desperately needed.”
Greg Adams pitched well for the host Cougars, said Franceshetti.
“He was able to pitch out of a lot of stressful innings and gave us a good chance to win,” the coach said. “We just never got that key hit.”
Heading out on the road Thursday, April 27 to Merced, it was a lopsided 12-0 loss for the Cougar diamondmen.
“We lost 12-0 but gave up nine unearned runs. We committed eight errors and it just snowballed on us,” Franceschetti said. “The boys were out of character. We will move on and learn from our mistakes.”
This week, the Cougars were to host Modesto Christian and have Senior Night recognition on Tuesday, May 2 after The Times went to press. They go to MC on Thursday, May 4 and then travel to Linden for a non-league finale to the regular season on Friday, May 5.
It was also a tough week for the JV boys, as they took back-to-back shutout losses to El Capitan. They lost a 17-0 contest on the home field on April 25 and then lost by an 8-0 final on the road, April 27.
Modesto Christian does not have a JV team so the young Cougars will have just one game this week, traveling to Linden for their final game of the campaign on Friday, May 5.