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Smallwoods all-around play gives TC dramatic win
Turlock Christian High’s Robbie Smallwood helped his Eagles to a 6-4 win over Waterford High on Tuesday with strong pitching, hitting and running. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal
WATERFORD — Don’t make Robbie Smallwood angry. If you do, you’re bound to see the Turlock Christian High senior baseball player do some incredible things.
He can hit.
He can pitch.
He can dodge baseballs.
After a bad third inning, Smallwood showcased plenty of different talents against Waterford High on Tuesday afternoon. He utilized his powers to dramatically lift the Eagles to a 6-4 statement win, as Turlock Christian has now bested the two top teams in the Southern League — with the other one being Mariposa High, which racks up championships on a yearly basis.
“It was a really good win,” said Turlock Christian coach Jon Valenti, whose squad improved to 5-2 in the league and is in a three-way race with Mariposa and Waterford. “It’s good motivation. Now, it’s going to show that we belong where we’re at.”
And much of the credit goes to Smallwood, who pitched a complete game with eight strikeouts and wrapped up his day with two shutout innings. He also smashed out a two-run home run in the top of the fourth that gave the Eagles a much-needed boost after the Wildcats rallied for four runs in the previous frame. It was 4-2 at that point.
But Smallwood wasn’t done.
He also showcased his unique leaping abilities. In the sixth, he scored from second base but not before dodging Miles Martinez’s grounder to left field. The umpires held a short discussion to determine if the ball had hit, perhaps, Smallwood’s foot on his way up, but they ultimately ruled the play a score.
Waterford’s lead was now 4-3.
That was a crucial moment for an Eagles team that had lost to the Wildcats earlier in the season, an 8-0 setback. On Tuesday, Turlock Christian continued to surge in the sixth, thanks to Geoffrey Retemeyer’s shot to right field that sent in John Westburg and Martinez to give the Eagles a 5-4 edge with Smallwood needing to finish the game with two strong innings.
He shut out the Wildcats in those two frames. He also produced a sacrifice fly in his final at-bat that sent in pinch-hitter Stetson Tucker to give the Eagles their final score of 6-4. Also, Trevor Starn went 2-for-4 with one run scored.
And it helped that Smallwood got mad at himself after allowing three runs on three hits in the third.
“On the mound, when they get hits off like that, I get angry,” he said. “I like pitching when I’m angry. It always brings a couple extra miles on the fastball. It makes you want to throw strikes and get the guys out.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.