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Mercy-rule loss puts TC baseball in elimination bracket
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Will York of Turlock Christian pitched 1 and 1/3 inning in Friday's 13-3 loss to Alpha Charter in the Division-VII Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

It is now win or go home for the No. 4 Turlock Christian varsity baseball team after they fell to last year’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VII Champions, No. 1 Alpha Charter, in the second round of the postseason from American River College on Friday in a 13-3 mercy-rule final.

“They are an aggressive hitting team and they came out swinging and punched us in the mouth and we responded and fought back,” said TC head coach Bill York. “I liked how our boys fought down 10 nothing, they knew it wasn’t over so hopefully they take that momentum and it carries into Tuesday’s game.”

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Julian Espinoza of Turlock Christian attempts to steal third during Friday's 13-3 mercy-rule loss to Alpha Charter in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VII playoffs (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

TC went down early, trailing 5-0 after the first inning ended.

A scoreless second ensued with another five-run rally for AC in the bottom of the third inning as they went up 10-0 on starting pitcher Howie Skinner, who went 2 and ⅔ innings.

Will York came in to relieve Skinner and pitched 1 and ⅓ innings.

“We hit the ball well inning one through three, but it was just right at guys,” said York. “We can look back at our losses and it wasn’t like we were totally shut down. It kind of showed when it progressed and we kept swinging.”

Down 10-0, TC rallied to get some runs on the board. Skinner helped his squad with his offense after smacking a two-run double to cut the lead to 10-2.

TC’s Matt Leonesio drove in the third and final run in the top of the fifth inning which made it 10-3, but the rally stopped there.

Two of the final three runs scored by AC in the bottom of the fifth were unearned and by error.

“That is baseball. There is always another pitch. Always another ground ball. Always another at-bat and always another game,” said York. “So, it is how can you turn the page and prepare for the next one and my guys have that type of temperament so I see them bouncing back and responding well.”

TC finished the game with four hits, while AC had 11 hits for the game.

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Turlock Christian's Matt Leonesio drove in one of three runs scored by the TC Eagles in Friday's 13-3 loss to Alpha Charter in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VII playoffs (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal)

Both sides had two errors each.

AC beat TC 11-1 last year.

“I also told them we are still in the tournament. Until we lose another game, we are still in it so anything can happen,” York added.

TC is now 13-12 overall as they head into Tuesday’s win or go home game.