All-District Baseball: Escalon coach Largent inspired Cougars

A year after seeing his team's bid for a perfect season end in the first round of the playoffs, Escalon coach Greg Largent refused to let his remaining Cougars dwell on that disappointing finish.

"That was motivation to get back in the playoffs and win it," said Largent, after Escalon beat Central Catholic 15-4 for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 title. "We wanted a shot at Central before they moved to a new division, and we took advantage of that."

Rolling to a title and ending Central's string of 10 straight section titles made Largent The Bee's Coach of the Year.

It could be a while before Escalon fields a team as talented as this group. Or perhaps not, which is what made this year's 25-3 team a surprise. There were six underclassmen in the lineup, and the top two pitchers also will return. Meshing with seniors Spencer Franceschetti, Nick Largent and Justin Martinez, Escalon hit .360 with a 1.64 ERA.

Largent used three pitchers in the regular season, and all were fresh in the playoffs. He used his bench, too, which is why the Cougars were so vibrant in four playoff routs.

— Richard T. Estrada