It was a battle of the Bulldogs as Turlock High took on Folsom High in the first round of the Division I CIF Sac-Joaquin Section baseball playoffs. Tuesday’s win-or-go-home matchup saw five lead changes between the two teams and a tie ballgame heading into the last inning. Folsom ultimately staved off a late-game Turlock rally to win 9-7 and advance to the second round.
While there were a combined 16 runs scored between the two teams, the game began in a rubber match between starting pitchers Kaden Peterson (Turlock) and Tyson Dewall (Folsom).
Dewall and the Folsom defense allowed multiple baserunners in each of the first two innings by way of hits, walks and errors, but prevented any runs from scoring. Meanwhile, Peterson came out of the gate dominant as he tossed 3 1/3 perfect innings with five strikeouts.
Turlock was able to break the scoreless tie in the bottom of the third when Peterson helped his own cause on the mound with a leadoff single. He scored via a throwing error on a hard hit ball by Bryce Campbell. Campbell also scored on another Folsom error alongside teammate Griffen Sotomayor to make it a 3-0 ballgame.
The lead did not last long though as Peterson began struggling with command in the top of the fourth. He gave up two consecutive one-out walks before giving up an RBI double to Folsom’s Sean Carey. Things did not get better as the next batter, Payton Dupree, blasted a 3-run home run to deep left field.
“Kaden made one bad pitch and they didn't miss it. You get fastball up and their big guy hit it out,” said Turlock head coach Sean Gilbert.
Peterson was taken out of the game following the home run. Gilbert spoke more on his starting pitcher’s performance following the game.
“I can't say enough about Kaden Peterson,” Gilbert said. “He’s a great kid, hard worker, two-way guy for us pitching and in the middle of our lineup. He's a senior leader.”
The bottom half of the inning saw more scoring as Turlock’s Logan Hart led off with a double. Once again, Peterson came up big with the bat with an RBI double of his own to tie the game at four runs apiece. He immediately took advantage of another Folsom error to score another run and give Turlock a 5-4 lead.
Nevertheless, Folsom would not be fazed by loud Turlock hits. After a flyout from the leadoff batter, Jake Tremain shot a double to right field. A walk advanced Tremain to third base, where he scored on a Colin Gallagher groundout to once again tie the game, this time at five runs apiece.
The score remained tied going into the final inning of regulation.
In the top half of the seventh inning, Folsom used small ball to their full advantage. After a leadoff single by Slade Wilson, the team successfully converted two bunt singles. With the bases loaded, Colin Gallagher delivered again with 2-RBI single to right field, making it a 7-5 game. An infield single and a passed ball led to two more runs for Folsom, making it a 9-5 heading to the bottom of the seventh.
With only three outs to spare, Turlock did not go down without a fight. After a flyout from the leadoff batter, they quickly loaded the bases on two walks and a base hit. When a ball made its way passed the Folsom catcher, Turlock’s Riley McCord took a chance at scoring but was ultimately thrown out at home.
The bases were loaded again after the next Turlock batter, Logan Hart, worked a walk. A run proceeded to score on a third consecutive base on balls worked by Peterson, making it a 9-6 game with two outs. An RBI infield hit by Sotomayor made it 9-7 and kept the rally alive, but it wasn’t long before Folsom got the final out on a grounder to shortstop to eliminate Turlock and advance in the Division I playoff bracket.
“That's a good team. We scrapped and came back twice and got to their guy and got him out of the game and had an opportunity at the end,” Gilbert said. “We made some crucial mistakes at bad times that you can't make against good teams and you can't make in the playoffs, so that's a rough lesson for our young men to learn, but that’s life.
“It hurts and it's going to hurt for a while,” he continued. “Great group of young men. The seniors, we're going to miss them. It's a tough way to go out, but that's baseball.”