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Minors: Lugnuts claim City title over Redwings
Minors 1
Sam Welch of the Turlock American Lugnuts delivers a pitch during Mondays City championship match against the Nationals Redwings. Welch tossed four scoreless innings. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

The two best AAA Minors teams in the town of Turlock met on the diamond on Monday afternoon at Soderquist Park to decide who would be the 2017 City champion.

The Lugnuts from the American side met with the National Redwings in what resulted in a mercy-rule win for the Lugnuts after five innings, ending at 8-0. Both teams will also advance to the Tournament of Champions.

“We didn’t see it all year, there were times when they were down, but today it looked like that was it after the first,” said Redwings coach Jeramie Helwick

“I don’t know that we had an error today,” said Lugnuts head coach Nick Hackler. “That is exciting for us, just stress the fundamentals and making the simple plays.”

The Redwings went 12-3-1 for the year which included 10 straight victories heading into Monday's game.

“Every game it seemed like we got better,” said Helwick. “Every time we played it was a close game, but we prevailed in the end. They just battled till the end with a runner on third, good season.”

On the other side, the Lugnuts tallied an overall record of 11-3 after the win and saw more than a handful of sparks that is loaded with all-star talent from top to bottom.

“As Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors) said, ‘anyone can coach this team,’” said Hackler. “We had seven kids who could pitch and multiple who could catch and we mixed it everywhere. It was probably one of my best years.”

The Lugnuts saw a great start from Sam Welch on Monday and a handful of hits that lit up the scoreboard early on and quickly.

It took one inning for the Lugnuts to take the 4-0 lead over the Redwings after a big four-run rally.

Jay Yee added an RBI triple and another run was added in the third to go up 6-0.

Mason Hackler drove in a run with an RBI double in the top of the fourth inning and Braxton Durkce drove in the eighth and final run.

Starter Welch tossed four shutout innings for the game. Yee closed the game after pitching the fifth and final inning.

“We knew we had some young talent but it was just a good balance... and the kids had a blast, that was the main thing, real focused and successful practices and they worked well and a great season,” said Hackler.

Both teams advance to the Tournament of Champions, which is slated to take place this weekend against opponents yet to be named.