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Babe Ruth 18-year-olds win state tournament
Blake Cederlind
Recent Turlock graduate Blake Cederlind is seen pitching during the first round section playoff game at University of Pacific. Cederlind has been a starter for the Babe Ruth team this season and has been a major factor in their success. - photo by Journal file photo

The Stanislaus Cardinals Babe Ruth team nabbed the state champions for Babe Ruth baseball.

With the tournament starting on Friday at Hollister, the Cardinals managed to win four straight games, which included back-to-back wins over San Benito, last year’s winners, by a score of 5-1.

The Cardinals are the 2014 state winners and will now move on to the Pacific Southwest Regional tournament which will begin next Wednesday with the winner determining who will move on to the World Series.

“I think it begins within the leadership from our guys and we rely on that heavily because that is what carries into these tournaments,” said Cardinals head coach Bobby Swedberg. “Our pitching is pretty deep and one through nine we hit consistently and we can be competitive in regionals and make a deep run in it.”

In Friday’s contest the Cardinals played against Kern West and managed to win 11-0, ending the game after the fifth inning due to the mercy-rule.

Recent Turlock graduate Cody Cornell started the game and went all five innings, giving up just one hit and striking out six.

Cornell also had a 2-for-2 night with two runs scored, a double and an RBI.

“Cody [Cornell] set the tempo on the mound in that opener,” said Swedberg.

The Cardinals were so consistent throughout the game that they spread their runs across the board as they scored two in the second, followed by six in the third and ended the contest with three in the fourth inning.

“A collaborative consistent game all the way around,” Swedberg said.

In the quarterfinal on Saturday, the Cardinals trounced Ripon, 9-0 behind a strong start from recent Turlock graduate Gavin Gaffaney.

Gaffaney started and pitched a complete game as he picked up the win and tossed seven innings while giving up only two hits. He walked two and struck out eight en route to picking up the win.

Cornell would pinch hit in the fifth and added on a two-run blast to help his team go up by nine and secure the win and a spot in the semifinal round.

“We were able to put runs in every inning, got two in every inning to get us going and offensively we swung the bats well all weekend,” said Swedberg. “The pitching did a great job keeping us off the bases and allowing our offense to do work.

On Sunday, the Cardinals played Hollister in the semifinal contest where the local team managed to pull out the 8-3 win, which was closer than the score indicates.

Turlock 2014 graduate Blake Cederlind started as he went four and 1/3 innings, giving up just one hit on two walks and gave up two earned runs. Tyler Murphy and Cornell were each 2-for-4 with two RBI for the game.

Hilmar’s Jacob Ahid came in for relief duties in the fifth with one out and would finish the day with 2 and 2/3 innings, giving up two hits and one run with a walk and a strikeout.

“Going into that game Hollister is a great program. We have great respect for them, we knew we would have to execute in key situations and the boys did it,” said Swedberg. “With Jacob getting out of the bases loaded jam with one out, that was a huge momentum upper and kept us putting runs on the board and that was the key turning point in that game right there.”

The win secured the Cardinals at least a second place result in the finale but things turned out better than that as it resulted in a semifinal rematch against Hollister that would end in favor of the Cardinals, who pulled out the 5-1 win.

Murphy was the highlight of the championship game as he tossed a complete game in the finale with 89 pitches. Allowed no earned runs, struck out five, walked two and also drove in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth.

“Tyler [Murphy] tossed a great game and kept guys off the bases,” said Swedberg. “We still look at Tyler as a great pitcher, he’s our ace, we knew he would get the ball and we were confident. We made hard hits early but they made great stops heading into the bottom of the sixth where we scored five runs to take the lead.”

The all-tournament selection was named and Murphy, Cornell, Mike McGee and Mike Pereznagron were named to the team while the most valuable player award went to the Cardinals Nico Delgadillo.

At the regionals there will be nine teams and it will be held at Modesto Christian with the Cardinals opening their first game against Vallejo California at 8 p.m. Wednesday.