The successful season for the Turlock Christian varsity baseball team continued with a 10-4 win over Millennium High on Wednesday afternoon for the second-place position in the Central California Athletic Alliance.
“Really it was about second place and seeding going into the playoffs,” said TC head coach James Burbank. “So, we still don't know the seed, but the win gives us a leg up on Millennium going into the seeding since we had the same record going in and we split during the season.”
TC ends the regular season with an 11-4 CCAA record and 11-5-1 overall.
Coach Burbank thought a coin flip would be the deciding factor, however the game was set for second place matchup in a neutral site at Big Valley Christian.
“The kids came out ready to play,” said Burbank. “Then we found out before the game that they had four kids out because of Disneyland and bad timing for them and good timing for us, but they were ready to play.”
Millennium wasted no time, adding a run in the first and second inning, and leading 3-0 before TC finally added a run of their own.
TC, anchored by starting pitcher Liam Jones, were able to quickly bounce back into the game after adding three, four and two runs in the three-final innings to close out the game with a fury.
“Liam had a great outing,” said Burbank.
The six-run difference became evident after seven players managed to get at least a hit for the TC Eagles.
Jones tossed 5 and 2/3 innings, while Ryan Leonesio and Markie Delgadillo each pitched 2/3 innings.
“Millennium came out and quickly got on, but we got the timing down and started to hit the ball really hard and put runs on the board,” said Burbank. “Really the big bat for us tonight was Jakob Skinner.”
Skinner was 4-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
“Catalyst for us, he was player of the game, really played a great ball game,” said Burbank of Skinner. “He was just on fire tonight, catcher today and threw out a pair of runners, and just pretty much showed up and laid it out on the line today behind the plate. Played some great ball, all the kids did, all the bats were working hard.”
Senior Caleb Heppner was 2-for-4 with two runs scored for TC.
Mikah Blomenkamp was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Ethan Fisher was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Jones was 2-for-3 from the plate.
As a team, TC batted .424 for the game with 14 hits while Millennium was held to seven hits and committed two errors.
“We need to tighten defense up before we go into playoffs,” said Burbank. “If we can get our defense and our walks and play small ball and play good defense and throw strikes, make the other team beat us, I am confident we can beat anybody in our bracket.”
TC joins Turlock and Pitman High as all three high school baseball teams in town will make it to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
“Pitman and Turlock have really great baseball programs and I am happy for them, but I like that we are starting to rise to the occasion in the city as well,” said Burbank. “We hopefully build into that, so it doesn't matter where you go, you will be competitive in baseball no matter where you go.”
TC will next compete in the Division-VII Sac-Joaquin Section tournament against an opponent yet to name at a time yet to be determined, Monday.