Atwater High didn’t stand a chance on Thursday when its baseball team traveled to Turlock to face the Bulldogs (5-5 CCC). Turlock, who lost a close game to the Falcons (3-7 CCC) on Tuesday, scored in each inning in what turned out to be a 13-1 rout of Atwater.
“We had a lot better approach today and it showed,” Turlock’s head coach Mark de la Motte said of Thursday’s performance.
The Bulldog’s approach was simple, put the bat on the ball and hit it away from Falcon defenders. Turlock’s task was made easier due to the fact that Atwater’s ace, Justin Cruz, was not on the mound as was the case on Tuesday. Instead, the Bulldog batters faced the combination of Jacob Minor and Tyler Zeller, neither of which was able to contain Turlock’s offense.
A Brett Cumberland double in the first inning put Turlock’s first two runs of the game on the board and was shortly followed by a Gavin Gaffaney RBI that put the Bulldogs up 3-0. Turlock scored again in the second off a Tommy Evans single but it was the third inning that proved to be the death nail for the Falcons. Tyler Murphy kicked started what turned out to be an eight-run inning with a triple that gave Turlock two more runs. Another RBI from Gaffaney and a double from Austin Thomas gave Turlock two more runs before Luis Mendez’ single and a scramble from third base to home plate by Thomas put the Bulldogs up 10-0. Ryan Cumberland closed the third inning out with a two run double, all but extinguishing Atwater’s hope of a late season sweep of Turlock.
Atwater finally scored its first, and final, run of the game in the fifth inning. Up until that point Nick Voumand had shut Atwater down from the hill. Voumand, who has struggled this season, pitched his first complete game and ended with eight strike outs and an ERA of 1.40.
“Atwater’s pitcher was tough on Tuesday but our advantage is that we have three to four good pitchers to work with,” de la Motte said.
A surprise walk off home run in the fourth inning from Gerrit Dykzeul provided Turlock’s final run of the game. The Bulldogs will now face Downey High on Monday before getting back to league competition against first place Buhach Colony High on Tuesday.
“We’d like to have a couple games back but we’re starting to feel like we’re playing the best baseball of the year,” de la Motte said. “Right now every game is a little more important than the game before.”