The No. 6 seeded Turlock varsity baseball team were able to fend off No. 11 Tokay High, 3-2, on Monday afternoon in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I South playoffs.
“We were just fortunate to get out of the jams and it's good to get this one of out the way, because we’re used to playing every other day,” said Turlock head coach Mark de la Motte about advancing. “Our thing all year has been, we don't care who we play, we just want to play well.”
Turlock committed four errors while Tokay played an error free game, however, the pitching performance from starter Dallin Tilby and reliever Alex Garcia was nearly flawless.
Combined, both went seven innings, allowing just two unearned runs on four hits, with four walks and six strikeouts. Garcia picked up the save while Tilby got the win.
“Great pitching from Dallin… and Garcia has ice water in his veins, we dodged some bullets, you don't always dodge right there,” said de la Motte.
It was late in the game, but Turlock was the first to get on the board with a Case Pacheco RBI sac fly in the bottom of the first.
Freshman Tyler Soderstrom followed with an RBI double to go up 2-0 and sophomore Justin Hines drilled an RBI single to go up 3-0 by the start of the second.
Both sides saw three scoreless innings that followed before Turlock found themselves in a pickle.
“We just kind of relaxed after the first inning. It’s a natural tendency after a big inning, to think we can relax, but obviously, it is not over,” said de la Motte.
Tokay was able to get two runs in the top of the fifth inning after a fielder's choice and an error off Tilby made it 3-2.
With bases loaded, Tilby got out of the jam in the fifth and started the sixth inning, before Garcia was put in with a save opportunity after Tokay got a runner in scoring position at second to lead off the inning.
With two runners in scoring position and no outs, Garcia was able to get three straight infield outs with his great location.
It was also the third meeting with Tokay for the year, having previously played two games in preseason. Overall, Turlock won the series for the year at 2-1.
“We played them three times this year, splitting the series before this game and they have improved every time and they are a scrappy team, but Dallin and Garcia really pitched their tails off,” said de la Motte.
Garcia tossed two shutout innings, allowing one hit and getting a strikeout.
Seven different batters managed to get at least one hit for the Turlock offense.
Turlock will take on a familiar foe in St. Mary's of Stockton on Wednesday but might be without some seniors due to the Disneyland trip.
“We have never had a problem in the past,” said de la Motte about Disneyland. “We have had some guys go in the past, they are committed to our program and our guys always make the right decision for them, and that is where we are, in the business of getting them to make the right decision.”
Turlock will move on to the next round to play at the University of the Pacific and will take on No. 3 St. Mary's at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
“We can't get caught up in who we are playing, easier said than done, but that's our goal. Should be a good game,” de la Motte added. “We are going to compete no matter what and we have a young team and they are getting better.”