Four years ago head coach Jaime Trujillo promised his Turlock Pitbulls baseball team that they would win a championship in the 209 Mexican American Baseball League and after last Sunday's results, the promise came true.
Turlock, coming off a 12-5 season in league play, rolled into the postseason and trounced the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds before taking on the league power in the Hilmar Indians from the Turlock High baseball fields.
The Pitbulls went on to sweep the Indians with a 4-3 win in the first game followed by an 18-5 victory to secure the title.
“In our fourth year, we finally make the championship after making playoffs every year, that is special,” said Trujillo. “I promised my kids we would win the championship on the fourth year and they were hungry for that trophy.”
Although it looked as if the 2016 season was the year for the Pitbulls, who ended the regular season with a 16-1 posting.
“We were thinking we would win, it was the best record in league but couple errors cost us the game,” said Trujillo.
Turlock was then eliminated in the second round, leaving the youngest team in league hungrier.
It also helped that every single guy was back from last year's team said Trujillo, however, the grind was evident early on in the year when they started back on April 2.
They kept their composure throughout the long season and accumulated a dozen victories in the MABL.
Since starting four years ago, Turlock has accumulated a record of 51-13.
Their record earned them a berth in the postseason where they had to meet No. 3 Delhi on Sept. 17 and then No. 1 Livingston on Sept. 24.
These wins earned the Pitbulls a berth in the finale on Oct. 1.
“I think all the bats were alive, but there were four players in every playoff game, they got three to four hits and they really wanted to win this one,” said Trujillo. “League was tougher this year because we have the strongest division, we had to go through the toughest teams for sure and there are also more college players.”
Their record was 5-1 in the postseason and championship game combined.
“We kept winning most playoff games by double digits,” said Trujillo.
This led to a confidence that was unmatched in the finale, which ended in a lopsided result. Turlock outscored Hilmar 22-8 in two games.
“Going into that game we were confident because everybody was swinging, during the season it was quiet, but everybody getting an at-bat was getting a hit,” said Trujillo. “It was a nice feeling because I saw kids with tears because they promised and they came through.”
The Pitbulls were anchored by four aces said Trujillo, but Brian Mendez (Turlock High), Brent Gonsalves (Pitman) and Darren Finney (Pitman) were key contributors to their success.
“During this run, Mendez and then Gonsalves were great for us, I will give them both the co-MVP award as well. Both were huge for us,” Trujillo added.
The Pitbulls will have tryouts for the 2018 season on Feb. 18, and everyone ages 15 and above are encouraged to tryout. For more information contact Chris Moreno at 209-485-6993.