It was a nail biter at Julien Field on Saturday as the National League Rockies defeated the Yosemite Reds in the Majors division, 5-4, in walk-off fashion after a seventh inning Ramon Grande RBI single scored Marino Cabero from third.
“I knew we had the heart to win it and that was the advantage of being a good team here in our home town,” Rockies coach Rudy Estrada said. “I knew the boys would fight and they did.”
The TOC champion Rockies end their successful year having won 18 of their final 19 games.
The Yosemite Reds struck in the top of the first with two-runs off of back-to-back throwing errors to third base and home plate by the Rockies. Then, in the bottom of the second, Noah Baltazar put the National champions on the board after slamming a deep two-run double over the center fielders head to tie the game at two apiece. Two more runs were tacked on as Shane Karl and Baltazar crossed the plate to put the Rockies up 4-2 by the end of the second inning.
The visiting Reds waited until the top of the sixth to retaliate when they scored back to back runs; first on an RBI triple by Tyler Helwig, followed by a pass ball in which Helwig scored to tie it at 4-4. Grande then drove in Cabero for the game winner in the seventh.
“It was a team effort. Everybody contributed today,” Cabero said.
Cabero started the game for the Rockies and pitched a fantastic performance by throwing 85 pitches through 5 and 1/3 innings and striking out four. Grande finished the game with 1 and 2/3 innings, while allowing only one run. Offensively, Cabero was red hot on the plate going 3-for-4 with a double. Baltazar, who was also battling the stomach flu and the passing of a family member just days prior, caught the entire game and went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs. Offensively the team produced six walks for the day atop five runs.
“When we started out we knew we had a good group of kids coming back. As things progressed we began to play better and better every day,” Estrada said. “We had a collective effort because it was also a long season. We played a lot more games than a normal team would. When we won a few their confidence went through the roof. We’re going to miss the kids leaving, but they definitely left and made their mark here in the Turlock National Little League.”