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Back-to-back losses cost American 11s a Section title
American 11
Turlock's American 11-year-old All-Stars fell in back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday to Morada in the Section 6 final. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

Tuesday and Wednesday marked the Section 6 final for the Turlock American 11-year-old All-Stars who met Morada at Madison Park in Stockton, but in the end, none of the games went well for the Americans who met their match.


Unfortunately it was a self-destructive two games for the Americans who were outplayed and it showed with a 9-5 final on Tuesday, which then forced a winner-take-all scenario on Wednesday night.


Again, like Tuesday's meeting, the Americans failed to overcome their unfortunate mental mistakes on both sides and it essentially cost them a Section banner after losing on Wednesday, 8-3.


“As a whole in the tournament, the kids played well and put the bat on the ball and made contact, we had runners on but just didn't capitalize when it mattered,” said American head coach Grady Welch. “We left way too many on base and missed too many easy routine plays.”


In Tuesday's game, Morada pitched two shutout innings to start things off before the Americans saw any runs of their own.


Matt Leonesio added some runs in the third inning after slamming a two-run bomb over the fence, but by then the score read 6-2 after Morada went on a tear in the first two innings.


Morada scored four runs in the first followed by two in the second to go up 6-0 after the Americans faced 17 batters through just two innings.


The Americans were playing catch-up from that point on but never got close to pull within as three more runs followed for Morada in the fifth inning.


Tyler Ness started the game and went five innings and finished with 85 pitches. Gavin Farinha pitched the sixth and final inning.


“We left their runners on and Morada capitalized when they needed to,” said Welch. “They got the big hit. Everything fell in place for them. Whereas we couldn't get the runs in.”


Wednesday's final saw nearly the same scenario for the Americans who were hindered on offense and failed to make routine plays.


“We basically beat ourselves, made too many mental mistakes,” said Welch of Wednesday's final. “Not a great game, struck out seven times.”


Farinha started for the Americans and went 4 1/3 innings and was relieved by Kyle Ericksen and his 1 2/3 innings of work.


The Americans went up 1-0 after the first inning and added two more runs in the second inning when Ericksen hit a two-run bomb over the fence to make it 3-0 heading into the bottom half of the second.


In the bottom of the second, Morada went on to bring nine runners on and tied it at 3-3 before amassing their rally that paved the way for the victory.


A total of eight unanswered runs were tacked on to win it and the Americans left bases loaded in the third, fourth and sixth innings.


“We just didn't recover after that. Gavin pitched a great game, really did great but left runners on. We just didn't get the big hit when we needed it,” said Welch. “We can’t leave runners on in base like that. We needed to get an extra out to make the play which really cost us as well.”


Morada scored four runs in the third and went up 7-3 and never gave up another for the remainder of the game.


“Very pleased but I think you take a few mental errors or mistakes and I believe the game would have been in our favor,” Welch added.