The Turlock Christian varsity baseball team is still not out of playoff contention, even after getting blanked 5-0 by Venture Academy on Tuesday in the team's final home game of the season.
“Now we really need to win our final game and hope that Millenium and Elliot possibly lose both games,” said TC head coach James Burbank. “We know almost everyone in league is still battling.”
The Central California Athletic Alliance has been an open division for most of the year, at least from second place on, but TC failed to secure the possibility of finishing in a top placing in league after getting dominated by VA sophomore pitcher Dylan Hodges, who also did work from the plate.
Hodges finished the afternoon with a complete game shutout performance after allowing just three hits, no runs and striking out five.
It was also just the second time this year that TC baseball had been shutout in 15 contests.
“It's still a game, whether you win or lose... but obviously there are bigger things than just baseball,” said Burbank. “We want to come out and compete but we have seniors that are getting ready to start life and that is more important and a priority to us than to harp on errors or something that cost us.”
The Eagles committed four errors for the game behind the start of Coleman Kirkendall, who also tossed a complete game but his offense failed to muster any runs over seven innings.
“If you look at any of our games this year, our pitching and defense have kept us in every time,” said Burbank. “Every team we play averages many runs but we have been fortunate to shut most of them down, the only thing is our bats, we gotta get our bats going.”
In 15 contests this year, TC has outscored opponents 110-60 and last year in 16 games, TC barely outscored opponents 123-119.
“We are not just about baseball, but we are also about grooming great men,” said Burbank of the recent struggles. “So when they leave they can contribute to life afterwards and that will be the talk before our last game on not making the same mistakes twice.”
VA struck first in the second inning, scoring two runs off Kirkendall after back-to-back RBI doubles from Josiah Harrison and Cologio Adames.
Venture's 3-0 lead was extended to 5-0 in the fourth inning once Daniel Acuna hit a two-run double in the middle of the inning.
Hodges, who had his curveball working for the entire game, managed to retire the final six batters in a row and retired 9 of the final 10 batters faced, including a three-up and three-down inning in the seventh to secure his team's 10th league win of the year.
TC falls to 7-6 with just one game remaining.
“We would like to take back some other games but nobody can say that Turlock Christian is a walkover this year,” Burbank added. “Our kids knew the game had playoff implications, but this what not how we typically play baseball. We came out and competed the best we can.”
The final game for TC will be against Venture Academy on the road at 4 p.m. today.