Turlock High School pitcher Dallin Tilby had a good feeling about Friday afternoon’s league opener against Merced High School before he even stepped on the mound for the Bulldogs.
“I felt good coming into the game. My ‘pen was good, and my arm was feeling good,” said Tilby.
Tilby’s intuition was right, as the starting pitcher went on to throw a no hitter against the Bears, paving the way for an impressive 10-0 victory over Turlock’s Central California Conference opponents.
“The first two innings I felt awesome,” said Tilby. “I was feeling positive, feeling good, and then the following innings I just wanted to focus batter by batter and not think about the no hitter.”
Tilby walked just two batters throughout the five-inning game, which was cut short due to the league’s mercy rule, and struck out two Bears hitters. With Damon Treadwell – one of Turlock’s top starting pitchers – out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Turlock head coach Mark de la Motte applauded Tilby’s stellar performance.
“He’s our best pitcher now that Damon’s out hurt and he did a good job,” said de la Motte. “…He came out and threw really well today.”
While Tilby excelled on the mound, the rest of his team had a spectacular day at the plate as well, scoring 10 unanswered runs.
Merced pitcher Cole Huie kept up with Tilby for the game’s first two innings, and it appeared as if the match would be a pitcher’s duel. The Bulldogs woke up in the third inning, however, scoring three runs by way of a couple Bears errors and a sacrifice fly from Tyler Soderstrom.
Cameron Martin got things started for the Bulldogs once more in the fourth inning with a long double to left, which Merced’s Huie followed by hitting Mason King with a pitch. King successfully stole second, and Martin was able to score on the throw down to second base. A sacrifice fly from Tyler Etharidge scored King, putting the Bulldogs up 5-0. With the bases cleared, Tate Soderstrom hit a triple and was brought in on a single from Chris Steeley.
Tate Soderstrom went on to finish the game 2-3 with a double, triple and three RBIs.
“This was our only game this week so we were fresh,” said de la Motte. “We had plenty of pitching and they didn’t. That caught up to them in the end.”
Up 6-0, Turlock forced Merced to make two pitching changes in the bottom of the fifth inning, but to no avail. Tyler Soderstrom started the inning off with a walk, and was brought in by a double from Case Pacheco to make the score 7-0. Walks for both Aaron Hayner and Etharidge brought Tate Soderstrom up to bat with the bases loaded, which was all the Bulldogs needed to end the game. The first baseman roped a double to bring all three runners in to score, making the score 10-0 and effectively ending the game after five innings.
After winning their first league game, de la Motte expects the Bulldogs to continue playing competitively in the CCC.
“We just want to keep our momentum going,” said de la Motte. “You’re not always going to beat them 10 to nothing but you just have to go out, try to get one run and then build on that.”
The Bulldogs are now 1-0 in CCC play and 6-2 overall. Their next game is at 4 p.m. April 3 at Merced High School.