Things look exceptional for the Turlock National 10-year-old All-Stars team, which looks very deep and talented according to head coach Jeff Naranjo and his assistants.
“These 10s are the top in majors here in the National League, they are the best we have and they played an extensive amount at the majors level with 12s all year long,” said Naranjo of his roster of 14.
The roster consists of: Rayden Rasmussen, Salvador Alvarez, Dominic Maldonado, Ivan Montanez, Mason Duarte, Anthony Gallardo, Andrew Azevedo, Aiden Lopes, Alex Rodriguez, Justin Hack, Jorge Orozco, Owen Miller, Andrew Aleixo and Nicholas Simmons.
“This is a very good group, half the team I can put on various spots on the field and they can play any position out on the field,” said Naranjo. “We are also able to have more pitchers this year. Over half the team can pitch, which should help a lot.”
The Nationals team will also have the luxury of having a power hitter in Miller, who blasted five for the season.
“Very unheard of to see that,” said Naranjo. “He was in the race for most home-runs. That is really special.”
In addition, the team has five players listed as catchers to go with the seven possible pitchers on the roster.
“It helps that they are catchers because I can throw them anywhere at any point in the game and get it done, it helps,” said Naranjo. “Right now, any of these kids can play anything and we will be fine.”
With such high hopes, Naranjo understands the circumstances of a young aged team, however, points out that their maturity level and competitiveness is unlike any 10-year-old.
“They expect to go out and take it one game at a time but they really want to win that first game and get some confidence,” said Naranjo. “They are very competitive, they played with the 12s and they all got a lot of playing time for the Majors.”
Aside from looking to compete for a possible District title, Naranjo expresses the importance of having a good time competing.
“You can expect to see a lot of hustle and happy faces if we can push forward into this competition,” said Naranjo. “These kids didn't have a problem hitting the ball at all.”
Pitching and hitting will be the main focus says Naranjo.
“Long as we get good pitching and good defense, we shouldn't have a problem,” said Naranjo.
Aleixo, Simmons, Maldonado and Azevedo will all look to be some of the top arms.
“These four are definitely kids we expect to see start,” said Naranjo. “Aside from the various others, pretty much we are good all over the place.”
The first game for the National side will be at Soderquist at 7 p.m. Tuesday.