The toughest muster for Mark Esquivel Friday was waiting out the interminable innings when his Cougars were at bat. Other than that, smooth as silk, and the North senior’s two-hitter on the mound complemented a barrage of hits for the Coogs in a 23-0 home win against Econ.

Esquivel, a former Jag himself for three years, also drove in four runs and launched a pair of long doubles into the windy night; teammate Noel Cruz knocked in five including a standup triple with the bases loaded as the Coogs improved to 1-2 in league play and 5-11 overall.

“I felt strong out there,” said Esquivel, who fanned six and won his third game of the year. “And I almost hit one out, it got close, man.”

North jumped all over Econ starter Justin Montano, bombing him out of there in an 8-run first. The Jags (0-3, 1-14) walked 12 batters, committed seven errors and tossed five wild pitches in their worst performance of the season. Juan Salazar punched a double in the third and J.C. Garcia singled in the fifth to keep them from being no-hit by their former pal.

The Coogs got two in the second, nine in the third, and four in the fourth to cruise to the win, a day after getting blanked 10-0 by P-SJ-A. The Coogs have made the playoffs six of the last seven years and three straight, but are rebuilding to an extent with a new-look ball club.

Leadoff hitter Joel de lo Santos scored three times in the rout while Andrew Arteaga, playing shortstop instead of the outfield, walked twice and scored three runs. Outfielder Keith Silva went 2 for 2 as the unit banged out 12 hits off three Econ hurlers.

The win was doubly sweet for Esquivel, who has battled back from injury problems to become a key contributor in his swan-song season.

“I’m just trying to get back from knee surgery,” said the right-hander, who threw some tough curve balls Friday and yielded just one walk.

He and Econ coach J.J. Serda joked with each other at the end of the top of the fourth, after Esquivel had whiffed catcher Rey Miranda on a wicker yellow hammer that dropped a foot and a half.

“I have no hard feelings against those guys, they’re still my friends,” he commented. “No hard feelings in baseball, anyway…”

First baseman Edgar Cordon continues to impress for North, with a sharp single and two walks against the Jags. He’s got quick feet for a big guy (stole a base Friday) and Coach Nick Cantu says he marshals quality at-bats with regularity.

The home boys turned a nice double play in the third, with Arteaga fielding and pitching to second sacker Gus Maldonado, who fired onto Cordon at first to nip Jag Joey Velasquez.

NOTES: EHS lost a late lead against P-SJ-A at home Friday, dropping a 11-10 decision to the defending champion Bears.

DIAMOND SCHEDULE

BASEBALL

Tuesday, March 23

EHS at Econ

North at P-SJ-A

Friday, March 26

Econ at Harlingen

Pharr North vs. EHS, at Pan Am

Harlingen South at North

Tuesday, March 30

P-SJ-A Memorial at North

EHS at Harlingen South

P-SJ-A at Econ

SOFTBALL

Tuesday, March 23

Econ at Harlingen

Pharr North at EHS

Harlingen South at North

Friday, March 26

EHS at Harlingen South

P-SJ-A at Econ

P-SJ-A Memorial at North

Tuesday, March 30

NORTH AT EHS

Econ at P-SJ-A Memorial