Var­sity Cougar Boys Get Share Of TVL Ti­tle

Escalon Times - - SPORTS - By MARG JACK­SON mjack­son@escalon­times.com

Getting some help from an un­ex­pected source – Ripon – the Escalon var­sity base­ball team earned a share of the Trans-Val­ley League ti­tle, named as cocham­pi­ons with Moun­tain House.

As the Cougars were win­ning their fi­nal two games of the sea­son, Moun­tain House won one and lost one to Ripon, leav­ing both Escalon and the Mus­tangs at 10-2 in league play.

Headed into the fi­nal week of the reg­u­lar sea­son, the Cougars knew they had to win both games to even have a shot at the crown.

They started out on the road, go­ing to Hil­mar for a show­down with the Yel­low­jack­ets on Tues­day, May 8. Escalon came away with an 8-3 win on the day.

Jump­ing on top early, Escalon used a sin­gle from Parker Cosby and a sac­ri­fice bunt from Max Ni­cholas to get a run­ner into scor­ing po­si­tion in the first in­ning. Paul Ayala reached on an er­ror that al­lowed Cosby to score, fol­lowed by a walk to Cole Gil­bert, a sin­gle from Zach Abra­ham and a bases loaded walk to Nash Sat­nat to drive in a run.

It was a short-lived lead, as Hil­mar scored two runs of their own in the bot­tom of the frame, cap­i­tal­iz­ing on three sin­gles and a fielder’s choice to knot the score at 2-2.

“In the fifth in­ning, we went up 4-2,” ex­plained head coach Greg Lar­gent. “Af­ter an out, Abra­ham sin­gled, Colton Lowney sin­gled and af­ter the sec­ond out, Anthony LaRossa had a two-run dou­ble.”

Escalon added one more in the sixth and three in the sev­enth.

“Parker Cosby just missed a home run, it was a dou­ble high off the wall, then he stole third,” Lar­gent said of the sixth in­ning of­fense. “Paul Ayala drove him in with a sac­ri­fice fly to make it 5-2.”

Walks to Sat­nat and LaRossa started the sev­enth, with Car­son Gro­gan and Car­son Ge­orge go­ing in to pinch run for them. Af­ter an Estephan Sal­cedo sac­ri­fice bunt, sin­gles from Cosby, Ni­cholas and Ayala drove in the three runs.

Hil­mar got a sin­gle run in the sev­enth but couldn’t get any closer.

“Paul Ayala pitched, he went the dis­tance,” Lar­gent noted. “He al­lowed three runs and struck out five with two hit bat­ters.”

Cosby was 3-for-3, Gil­bert and Abra­ham each went 2-for-4 and Ayala had three RBI. LaRossa had a dou­ble.

Right back on the diamond the next day, Escalon hosted Hil­mar on Wed­nes­day, May 9 and hon­ored its seven se­niors in pre-game cer­e­monies. Rec­og­nized were Zach Abra­ham, Paul Ayala, Parker Cosby, Steven Grossi, Colton Lowney, Max Ni­cholas and Estephan Sal­cedo.

On the field, it was a 13-3 win for the Cougars in a run-short­ened game.

Escalon scored four in the first, three in the third, three in the fourth, and three in the fifth. Hil­mar scored two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth. Cosby got the start on the mound for the Cougars, go­ing five in­nings to get the win, striking out four and walk­ing one while throw­ing 76 pitches.

Three dou­bles and two er­rors helped Escalon cash in for their runs in the first in­ning. Cosby dou­bled, Ni­cholas and Lucca Du­tra each reached on an er­ror, fol­lowed by a two-run dou­ble from Gil­bert. Abra­ham also notched a two-run dou­ble. In the third, Ayala had a two-run sin­gle and Sal­cedo notched an RBI sin­gle. A solo home run from Du­tra and a two-run sin­gle from Ayala brought in the fourth in­ning runs and clos­ing out the scor­ing in the fifth were Gil­bert with a sac­ri­fice fly and Abra­ham with a tworun sin­gle.

Lead­ing the hit pa­rade on Wed­nes­day were Abra­ham, 4-for-4; Gil­bert 2-for-2; Ayala 2-for-3, each with mul­ti­ple runs bat­ted in.

Escalon im­proved to 10-2 in Trans-Val­ley League play with the wins and were 22-3 over­all.

“We did get help from Ripon, they beat Moun­tain House 2-1 so we got a cocham­pi­onship,” Lar­gent said. “We fin­ished as the num­ber two seed (from the TVL) due to the tiebreaker.”

For the play­offs, Escalon was bumped up into Divi­sion IV from their nor­mal spot in Divi­sion V and were sched­uled to host Lib­erty Ranch out of Galt on Tues­day, May 15 af­ter The Times went to press. The Cougars go in as the num­ber six seed in D-IV while Lib­erty Ranch is the No. 11 seed. A win in the first round ‘play in’ game against Lib­erty Ranch would see Escalon trav­el­ing to face the num­ber three seed, Dixon, in a sec­ond round game on Thurs­day, May 17.

Teams play­ing in the Divi­sion IV bracket are top seed El Do­rado, fol­lowed by Wood­land, Dixon, Moun­tain House, Cap­i­tal Christian, Escalon, Casa Roble, Sonora, Liv­ingston, Marysville, Lib­erty Ranch, Ven­ture Academy and West Cam­pus.

MARG JACK­SON/THE TIMES

Wait­ing at the plate is Cole Gil­bert, dig­ging in against Hil­mar in the reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale for the Cougars on May 9, a game they won by a 13-3 fi­nal score. It was also Se­nior Day for the team.

MARG JACK­SON/THE TIMES

Cougar Colton Lowney, 24, eases away from third base and down the line to­ward home as the Hil­mar pitcher sends the ball to­ward the plate in Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon ac­tion, May 9. Escalon took a 13-3 win.

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