A crosstown rivalry matchup always seems to be a bit bigger than most games.
The Turlock 12-year-old American and National Little League All-Star squads met for a star-studded clash at Soderquist field on Wednesday but the hype soon faded as the Americans notched a 10-0 victory.
It was a mercy-rule victory for the Americans, who now leap into the championship game on Saturday for an opportunity to become the District 73 winners.
“It’s a great feeling to win because all of these kids have a lot of skill and they are all further along in their development and makes coaching a little easier,” American head coach Phil Govea said.
All teams are strong as they are filled with top competitors in their respective age group and the Turlock Nationals were no joke either.
The National squad had just come off a tight 9-6 win on Sunday against Yosemite and met the American side in a semifinal clash, but the Americans could not be stopped.
It all started in the first inning when the Americans worked their way into a 3-0 lead heading into the second, forcing National starting pitcher Daniel Orozco to grind out lengthy at-bats before the second had even started.
“Four of our substitutes hit three singles. They all contributed. It was outstanding overall,” Govea said. “We usually like to see a few pitches but we changed the strategy a little bit and went after their pitchers and all of our guys really put the ball in play,”
With over 30 pitches after the first inning, Orozco was taken out and subbed in with Brady Gutierrez, who then allowed the Americans to get up 6-0 after a Matthew Livingston two-run double was followed by a Ryan Leonesio RBI sacrifice.
The National side would struggle against American starting pitcher Andy Owen, who tossed up 3 and 2/3 innings, allowing no runs in the process and completely dominating on the mound.
“When you have your pitcher throwing strikes or your number one through nine is hitting everything, they are hard to beat and that’s what they were able to do today,” National head coach Craig Redman said.
The Nationals lone opportunity to score came in the top of the third when they saw two runners in scoring position with no outs but Owen was able to strike out the next two batters and finished it with a forced pop out, leaving the two runners stranded.
In the third inning the American side capped off the offense with four runs. Trent Brown was caught in a pickle but scored from third for the final score to put his team in double-digits and end the game with a mercy-rule.