Turlock High baseball’s final season competing in the Central California Conference didn’t go as expected, but any part of a league title is a success. That was the attitude of the Bulldogs squad that defeated Atwater, 3-2, at home on Wednesday to secure a three-way league title tie with Pitman and Buhach Colony.
“The three-way tie happened,” said Turlock head coach Mark de la Motte. “After the game I congratulated them on a 20-win season, which doesn’t happen all the time. We were hoping to be co-champs, but if we weren’t then we knew we are in the playoffs so we are happy to have made it. Happy to leave the CCC out on top, with Pitman and us leaving.”
The Turlock game ended before the Pitman versus Buhach Colony game concluded, so the Bulldogs were left waiting.
The Pride beat BC, 4-3, and split the series. This gave all three teams a 9-3 CCC record.
“It was pretty even this season since everyone had a good No. 1 pitcher and after that it was whoever is number two was better that day, but very even league,” said de la Motte.
This CCC title was also the third consecutive for the Bulldogs, who have seen much success while competing in that league.
In three years, Turlock’s CCC record stood at 32-7.
“I am happy for our guys, they worked hard all year, had some tough couple of losses but kind of got in and we took it the right way which makes you better… very happy for our guys,” said de la Motte.
Turlock closes out the regular season with an overall record of 20-5.
They also won six of their final eight games.
In Wednesday’s regular season finale, the ‘Dogs took the lead early and never let it slip against Atwater.
They notched a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth, followed by another run in the top of the fifth.
They held Atwater’s offense off the scoreboard until the top of the fifth when they added a pair of runs but starting pitcher Garret Fountain held them off.
“Garret Fountain found a way to finish,” said de la Motte. “We had Garcia in the bullpen for the last three batters, but Fountain managed to handle it all the way to the last batter and got them, real competitor.”
Fountain went seven innings, and allowed just one earned run on six hits, walked two and struck out nine.
Kayleb Becerra of Turlock was 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.
Alden Norquist was 1-for-3 with a run scored. Mason King was 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Case Pacheco was 1-for-3 with an RBI and Tyler Soderstrom added an RBI.
“It’s always a relief to be done with league and it’s a challenge to make the playoffs,” said de la Motte. “Just a matter who pitches and plays well in playoffs. Everybody’s goal is to win conference, so certainly try to win all the way out but there are 16 other good teams, a real challenge. That’s good experience for them, most will be coming back next year; it is great.”
Turlock will next host Lincoln of Stockton in the first round of the Division-I Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs at 4 p.m. Tuesday.