The 2019 Minors City Championship game was a wild one. One team came into the championship with an unbeaten record and both teams garnered 25 total runs in Monday’s game after the Bandits from Turlock American Little League defeated the Turlock National Redwings, 16-9.
“It was a lot of fun today. It was special to be able to represent Turlock American Little League and come to play Turlock National for the City Championship. It’s a lot of fun for everyone I think,” said Bandits head coach Jeff Bernard. “We didn’t expect this many runs, especially playing the best team in the whole city for most of the year.”
The Redwings had a perfect 16-0 record during the regular season and won their playoff game to complete a perfect 17-0 record prior to Monday.
“This is our first loss in the season right here, so I am so proud of my team,” said Redwings head coach Casey Barton. “Our guys went 17 games without a loss, and I think our pitchers were just tired and gave up a lot of walks and that is what happens. This was our formula all season, throw strikes and hit the ball and that is what we did, all season long. Today we threw a lot of balls, might have been a smaller strike zone, but we threw a lot of balls today.”
During the game, the number of runs and momentum shifts were staggering.
By the top of the second, the Bandits led 4-2.
Then the runs began to pile on after that.
Two more runs were tacked on in the top of the third after Jeremy Aguilera added two runs on a two-run double to make it 6-2.
Eugene Barton hit an RBI single in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 6-3 by the start of the fourth inning.
The Bandits then followed up with a five-run inning in the top of the fourth that extended their lead to 11-3.
Then the Redwings cut the lead to 11-7 after notching four runs in the bottom of the fourth.
The Bandits responded with another five-run inning to make it 16-7.
Two more runs were added in the fifth, but the game ended after a seven-run difference.
Both teams had multiple standouts and the Redwings boast two All-Stars on the squad.
“We have two All-Stars, Julian Valencia and Andreas Trujillo, and they are going to the 10 and under All-Stars, but those kids worked so hard to get there,” said Barton. “Honestly, it was our toughest game of the year, but I also don’t believe we played our best.”
The Bandits went 15-1-1 during the year leading up to Monday’s game.
“We played strong all year. The game that we tied and the game we ended up losing were close, could have gone either way, other teams got the better of us, but other than that we were consistent all season,” said Bernard.
The Bandits beat the Lugnuts in the final, winning two games in the postseason to clinch the league and postseason title.
“I am ecstatic, I have two boys on the team, so I get to coach them and some of the other boys on the team I have known them from other sports, so it is great to bring them together. The boys and everyone and their families loved it, just been a great season all around,” said Bernard.
Now the Bandits will have an opportunity to come out on top in another tournament when the Tournament of Champions begins this weekend.
“I think we tell them and remind them to have fun, because kids seem to play their best when they are having fun,” said Bernard.
The Tournament of Champions takes place this weekend in Los Banos with both teams slated for weekend games at times yet to be announced, Saturday and Sunday.