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Bruin Fall To Cougars, Advance To Playoffs
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Riverbank ballplayers lost a 13-12 heartbreaker to Escalon on Thursday in a back and forth battle on the Bruin diamond.

The lead changed five times, noted Riverbank coach Mike Carrigg. The Bruins were up 5-3 at one time, then ahead 8-5. They were down 13-11 going into the last inning, but then scored again.

"In the bottom of the seventh, we had the tying run on second base and the winning run on first with one out - and we still lost," Carrigg said.

But the loss does not stop Riverbank from advancing to the playoffs and taking on Mother Lode League champion Linden this coming Saturday. That game will start at noon on May 22 at Lodi's Tony Zupo Field.

Carrigg called Thursday's donnybrook the most exciting high school game he's ever been part of and praised both teams for their high standard of play.

The game featured two of the best pitchers in the league, Zac Swanson of Riverbank and Zachary Swass of Escalon. It was expected to be a tight, low scoring game.

On the contrary, there was big hitting by both sides. Escalon collected 13 hits including a home run and Riverbank was credited with 15 hits.

Escalon opened the scoring with three runs in the third inning and Riverbank replied with five. Escalon came back with two more runs in the fourth inning. Riverbank scored three more runs to take a substantial lead.

Then the Cougars exploded for six runs in the fifth only to have Riverbank post three more runs to tie the score 11-11.

Going into the sixth, Escalon scored once more, Riverbank made no reply. Then in the seventh inning, Escalon scored again to have Riverbank post only one more run although the Bruins had runners on base and waiting for a hit.

Big hitters for Riverbank were Adan Mercado who went 4-for-4 at the plate, Andy Villlalobos who was 3-for-4, Luke Mangini who was 3-for-5 with an RBI, Ambrosio Rodriguez who was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Ted Suguira who was 3-for-4 with an RBI.

Riverbank's record is now 14-9 overall. They went 9-5 in league to finish in third place. Hilmar took first place and Escalon was second.

In an earlier game on Tuesday, May 11, Riverbank defeated Livingston 5-2 as Villalobos on the mound struck out six batters and allowed only three hits.

"Villalobos did very well. It was good to see him back on track," said Carrigg.

Riverbank batters did not make that many hits but were walked eight times.

"They helped us a lot," said Carrigg of the opposition.

At bat for the Bruins, Chris Bigelow and Juan Lopez each had doubles.

Following the May 22 Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff game, the contest will go to a three-game series on Monday or Tuesday and then finals the next Saturday.