The Turlock American All Stars barreled into the 11 year-old State Tournament on Sunday carrying major heat, defeating all opponents who stood in their way in the District and Section tournaments by a combined run total of 33-3.
After receiving a first-round bye, the Americans got their first taste of State competition on Sunday against the Canyon Creek All Stars who ultimately handed the Turlock squad their first taste of defeat, 4-11. The Americans followed the loss with a Monday match up against the Petaluma National All Stars but were again defeated, 3-8.
“I don't feel like we played bad. I feel like we handled our nerves and showed up and did a pretty nice job, I think we just ran into some real good competition,” head coach Kurtis Carr said. “The teams that we saw there were real deep and very talented from top to bottom.”
Despite being eliminated with back-to-back losses, Turlock marked its State Tournament entrance with a bang when Kaden Peterson rocked a lead-off home run to snatch the early lead. By the third inning Turlock led 2-0, but a pair of errors in the third and fifth innings resulted in a three-run homer and grand slam, respectively, that put Turlock in the trail position for the rest of the game.
“We misplayed the ball and that loaded up the bases when we should have been out of the inning. Then they hit a grand slam, and that bust the game open,” Carr said of the error in the fifth inning.
Turlock continued to get hits through the remaining innings but were unable to get runners across the plate. By game's end a total of ten runners were left on base.
“We weren’t' over matched at the plate. I felt like offensively we were capable of doing just fine against he the pitching we saw, but the opposing hitting was really good,” Carr said.
The trend of untimely errors continued on Monday against Petaluma. After entering the third inning knotted 0-0, Turlock allowed a two-run homer before giving up three runs on passed balls. The errors put Turlock in a hole that its players were unable to dig themselves out of while their opponents extended their lead with consistent ground balls that translated into runs.
“Those are things that don't typically happen to us,” Carr said of his team's defensive errors.
Turlock finally go onto the scoreboard with a Griffen Sotomayor two-run homer in the fifth, but the effort wasn't enough to spur a comeback.
“We couldn't string together hits, over both games. We didn't have those big innings,” Carr said.
The American All Stars finish their season with a tournament record of 6-2 and are already eyeing next year's 12 year-old All Star competition.
“They did well, and they walked away with their heads held high. It just didn't work out for us,” Carr said. “It was an outstanding run and we had such a good time as a team. We really gelled well and it was a very cohesive team. All the kids had a great time and that's what ultimately what matters.”