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American 11s eyeing a run for state
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Turlock American 11-year-old Kaden Petersen makes a routine play and throw from his usual spot at third base during Thursday's practice. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

Head coach Kurtis Carr has his team motivated and focused.


The Turlock American 11-year-old All-Stars have steamrolled through the District and Section tournament and secured the top spot in the Division/State tournament, earning a first round bye.


Heading into the District 73 tournament, the team was expected to carry heavy hitters and they did nothing but prove that, hitting over four home-runs in the opening contest of the tournament.


They went on to outscore their opponents, 33-3 and owned their way into District with a top spot.


Again, they were tested in the Section 6 tournament, but outscoring their opponents, 38-18 was enough, notching a six-game winning streak.


“I would say that we were hopeful to make it, but I don't think you ever expect to make State. We just wanted to improve on sections and it was a pleasant surprise,” said Carr. “We're just excited to be moving on and moving forward.”


What will be expected of this team is to give their full effort as the roster is stacked with talent.


The bats are there and the pitching is deep but scoring runs won't be an issue for this team that has kept their composure and stayed calm under the most difficult circumstance.


“It’s kind of crazy that we made it here because we are one out of 150. I think it’s cool but crazy at the same time,” said player Griffen Sotomayor. “I try to breath deep and not focus too much on any situation because that can lead to mistakes. You have to stay composed.”


“They don't get out of control with emotions,” said Carr. “Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the kids understand what’s happening. They are very mellow, they are calm and cool all the time. I looked at the coaches and it looked like the parents were more excited.”


Already in the recent two tournaments, the team has seen multiple players step up with huge contributions such as Sotomayor, Kaden Petersen, Aidan Askil, Zach Mayol, Cooper Carr, Boston Souza, Dylan Fuller and Jack Paslay.


The deep roster that also includes Auki Flores, Will York, Aidan Guttierres and Brandon Reed.


“I am excited and I want us to do really good because I want to represent Turlock,” said Mayol. “This year we have done better at the plate and making contact and finding the gaps and on defense we are making the routine plays.”


The team is 6-0 in both tournaments and as a team they have hit nine homers during that span between six players.


 “We can hit from top to bottom, pretty much at any point we don't have easy outs and that's hard to contend with,” Carr said.


For the 11s, this tournament marks the end, so this is it. Win or go home. The Division/State tournament between seven teams will begin Saturday at Lucchesi Park in Petaluma.


“We will have a good time and we will show up and have fun, best case scenario we can win some games,” Carr said. “We should be competitive in some games we play and play as capable as we are capable of playing.”


The Turlock American 11s have a first round bye and will play on Sunday against an opponent yet to be determined.


“It’s going to take an error free game and staying loose to be successful,” Petersen added.


“Every team will be as good as us but we will be better and we will set ourselves up for success,” Mayol said.