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Uncharacteristic defense
Sierra struggling to find pitchers
Sierra third baseman Abraham Velasco closes in on the ball Wednesday in a 7-1 non-league win for Escalon at Sierra High. - photo by Photo By Sean Kahler

A strong pitching performance by Escalon High’s Robby Rickman and uncharacteristic Sierra defense helped the Cougars to a 7-1 non-league baseball win over the Timberwolves on Wednesday at Sierra High.

“We are trying to find guys that can pitch,” Sierra coach Jack Thomson said. “We do not have any pitching experience back from last year. Our total staff this year has three innings of varsity experience, so we are going to keep running guys out to the mound to see who can throw strikes.

“We have had mixed results. Monday (in a 10-2 road win over Cordova) we threw strikes and today we didn’t. But we are young and we have a lot to work on and we are going to keep working.

Timberwolves relief pitcher Derek Rosendin pitched two scoreless innings and teammate Abraham Velasco closed out with a scoreless seventh inning. 

“Rosendin did a good job,” Thomson said. “He threw strikes. 

“We are just not where we need to be right now and we just need to keep working on it.”

Rickman yielded three hits in six innings and during those six innings Sierra (1-2) committed seven errors.

“Robbie (Rickman) did a great job for us,” Escalon coach Greg Largent said. “He is a senior and he has been working hard and all that hard work is paying off.

“That is not how a (Sierra coach) Jack (Thomson) team plays. We were fortunate and we took advantage of a couple of miscues and that’s how it happened. We got the W, but that is a better team then what they showed today.”

The Timberwolves got on the board in the seventh inning after Rickman was relieved. Jesse Babauta, Anthony Arredondo and Scott Teicheira all singled to load the bases and with two outs.  Chase Sperbeck (2 for 4, RBI) then legged out an infield single – his second of the game – to knock in Babauta.

Even when Sierra did smack the ball, the Cougars (2-1) were right there to get it. With two out and Sperbeck on third in the first inning, Babauta hit a screamer up the middle that somehow Rickman snagged for the final out. And then to start the second, Jacob Peterson hit another line drive for the Timberwolves only for Escalon shortstop Justice Naraghi to make a highlight-reel catch to start the first of three innings that Sierra would go down in order.