The plan is in motion.
The Turlock High baseball team’s mission to repeat another Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Championship campaign began on Monday afternoon at the Dogs’ own field. And the opening round game went with little to no glitches, as the Bulldogs stomped all over Lodi High with a 7-0 win to avoid the disaster of having a short-lived playoff stay.
Turlock now enters the double-elimination part of the tournament — which starts today against Modesto’ s Downey High at 4 p.m. at Klein Family Field at the University of Pacific in Stockton — with no losses.
Last season, the Bulldogs stomped their way to the championship game. They want a repeat. On Monday, they showed their potential: Jeremy McDonald threw a three-hit shutout; Tommy Evans, Brent Backlund and Ryan Brown all wrapped up the day with two hits apiece and the defense committed just one error.
“We were good enough,” Turlock coach Mark de la Motte said, and “took advantage of a few mistakes by Lodi.”
Next up is Downey — a team Turlock beat 6-1 in nonconference action on March 8. The 21-6 Bulldogs, in other words, know what the Knights (20-6-1 overall) are capable of, especially because Downey will use its top pitcher, Kyle Robinson, for today’s afternoon game.
But the Bulldogs have the experience, with nine seniors and seven returners from last season’s team that took eventual tournament champion St. Mary’s High of Stockton to the brink of elimination. Nick Voumard is one returner, as he is still remembered for his breakthrough win, as a freshman, against Beyer High that sent Turlock into the title round.
“We are prepared to face a good Downey team,” de la Motte said. “Having seniors who were there last year helps in knowing what to expect. We still have to play well though.”
In another opening round game Monday, Pitman High was eliminated after allowing Tracy High to rally from three runs behind in the bottom of the seventh, committed six errors and lost 9-8 on the road.
The Pride (17-11 overall) were playing their first postseason game in six years after finishing third in the Central California Conference with a 10-5 mark. With the defeat to Tracy, Pitman said goodbye to nine seniors, including college-bound pitchers Brandon Lewis and Clay Cozzitorto.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or 634-9141 ext. 2041.