By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Turlock, Pitman baseball battle with league title on the line
Turlock baseball 1
Turlock’s Boston Souza gets the win after giving up two runs in the first in the Bulldog’s league matchup with Pitman on Friday (PAWAN NAIDU/The Journal).

Turlock and Pitman High baseball teams met in a high stakes series this week. With neither game being decided by more than three runs, the Bulldogs were able to edge out the Pride on Friday to win the series 2-1 and now both teams sit atop of the California Central Athletic League.

 “There’s good baseball here in Turlock. It’s great to see both teams competing,” said Turlock head coach Sean Gilbert.

The first matchup on Monday was a pitching duel between Bulldog Kaden Peterson and the Pride’s Andrew Balentine. Both pitchers went seven scoreless innings and gave up five hits. The Bulldogs were able to get four hits off of relief pitcher Brandon Leon in the eighth inning and secured the 4-1 victory.

Pitman baseball
Pitman’s Mateo Garcia goes four scoreless innings after giving up four in the first in Friday’s game against Turlock (PAWAN NAIDU/The Journal).

“It was what we expected, this was two good teams going at it with a lot of good baseball players,” said Pitman head coach Andy Walker. “It was a hard-fought series and they did more than we did in the span of the series to win 2-1 games. They made the plays when they needed to.”

Leon redeemed himself on Wednesday by going six and two-thirds innings while giving up one hit and no runs. Bulldog pitcher Payton Hawkinson gave up six hits and one run in seven innings. That one run was enough for the Pride as they took home the hard-fought 1-0 victory.

With the series tied 1-1 and first place in the league on the line, the pressure was on Friday. Both teams got their bats going early, the Bulldogs scored four runs in the first while the Pride scored two. The pitchers settled down after that and went four innings without scoring a run.

“Getting four early helped relax us,” said Gilbert. “We came out swinging the bats and that just carried over. It helped us get comfortable at the plate early.”

The Pride were able to get another run in the fifth inning to cut the Bulldog lead to one, but the Bulldogs worked the pitcher in the seventh for two runs and were able to take home the 6-3 victory and the series win.

The winning pitcher was Boston Souza for the Bulldogs and the losing pitcher was Mateo Garcia for the Pride. Turlock’s Gannon Evans went 3-4 with a triple and Dustin Newsome went 2-3. Pitman’s Balentine went 2-4, Gabe Gutierrez 2-3 and Drew Walker had a double.

Both teams sit at 9-3 in league play and are atop of the league standings. The conference championship will be decided in the coming weeks with both teams having one series left. Both teams start a three-game series on April 25, with the Bulldogs taking on Gregori and the Pride taking on Enochs.

“We have to finish strong,” said Walker. “We have to play really clean baseball for three games. Enochs is a good program, and we’re going to have to play some really good baseball to finish on top.”