Cougar Baseball Notches First Victory

Finally, after a year of waiting, the Cougar baseball team got to play. Last Spring, the CIF and the school districts suspended the season due to the Covid-19 lockdowns. It was tough for the Cougars. A promising Spring was never allowed to blossom.

However, after a year of wondering if Spring sports would happen, let alone baseball, the Cougars got to play. Lots of planning and waiting, but the first game arrived on March 23rd. And, after a year of waiting, the Cougars got their first win by defeating Escalon High School 9-3 at the comfy confines of Cougar Field.

Lots of questions surround this year’s squad. First, how will the Cougars respond to a long layoff? Baseball requires lots of practice and lots of game innings to improve and make progress. Second, how would the Cougars deal with depleted numbers (lots of sports are overlapping, and players have to choose where they will go and what they will play)? Finally, what will be the expectation for head coach David Hager’s group.

“We are very young this year,” Hager told The Prowl from the plush baseball offices here at WRHS. “We started two freshmen, two sophs, and one senior. We’re waiting on a few more, but we have to be patient.”

However, Dustin Tinsley tossed last Tuesday’s first pitch, and the Cougars had to play with what they had. Taking on an Escalon team was going to be a big test. And as the game wore on, it looked like the Cougars were clicking as they amassed nine runs over the seven innings, eventually winning 9-3.

Hager said, “It was really exciting the come out and see the team play well. We took to the field with a good mindset and energy.”

One of the players who had great energy was Tinsley. Tinsley went 3 for 3, one walk. one RBI, stole two bases, and scored two runs. He frustrated the Escalon hitters on the mound as he went five innings and collected eight strikeouts.

Another bright spot for the Cougars was that Andrew Montano played solid defense at SS and admirably filled the leadoff role. It was a complete team win as everyone contributed in some way.

Getting that first win was huge for the Cougars as they had many questions to answer before Tuesday’s contest. But, Hager, as always, is cautiously optimistic.

“It’s always easy to enjoy the win because you never know when you are going to get another,” Hager quipped. “It was a great feeling to get the first win out of the way and not have the pressure on us for game 2.”

The Cougars travel to Escalon today for the second game in a home and away series, with the first pitch scheduled for 2:30 at Escalon. How the Cougars react after posting their first victory is another question, but Hager believes this team has what it takes to be competitive early and later in the VOL.

“We have a bright future and a lot to look forward to, but we can compete this year,” Hager said. “Our goals are to be relevant in the VOL, a notoriously strong league, and to compete in each game.”

The Prowl offers a tip of the cap to the Cougars for their patience and determination to push through the uncertainty and adversity.