For the first time, the Tigers of the American Little League are the Majors Tournament of Champions winners after toppling over their opponents in a rather convincing fashion last week which led to Friday’s 10-6 win over Yosemite in Los Banos.
“Just from a coaching standpoint it is great to see the kids buy in and put in the practice for the game and be consistent throughout the year,” Tigers assistant head coach Phil Govea said. “We are just really happy for the kids that they picked up what we have been coaching all year.”
Yosemite made their way through the loser’s bracket and that would later work against them after losing five of their regular pitchers due to high pitch counts and unavailability working their way into the TOC title game and so the Tigers took advantage of it.
“We like to say you’re a dead man walking when you get to that title game but have no pitching available,” said Govea.
Everything went in favor of the Tigers, especially the bats and the arm of Howie Skinner, the starting pitcher who would finish with three shutout innings against Yosemite.
Jake Abrams would crack the game wide open in the first inning after belting a two-run shot over the fence and from there on it was an all-out slugfest for the Tigers.
Ten runs and four innings later the Tigers had found themselves up by 10. Soon after the offense slowed down and Anthony Tullio was subbed in to toss up two innings.
In the bottom of the fourth Yosemite would tack on two runs to cut the lead to 10-2 and by the sixth Tigers Xavier Davila had taken over the mound duties and Yosemite scored four more.
“Guys who normally don’t pitch got to pitch as well… they scored a couple more late and got a little close but we were still in control of the game,” said Govea. “Yosemite slowed down our offense after we scored double digits. I wish I could say it was a nail-biter and dog fight, but it wasn’t. We had everyone available. To have everyone but Markie pitch and our offense was clicking and jumped out early and we were clicking.
“We are happy the kids responded and played fundamental baseball, and then offensively we swung the bats well all year,” Govea added. “They had a real spirit of competitiveness. This team really has no attitude, they don’t give up and they never mail it in and keep fighting till the end. It has been a great thing to be around.”
Silas Fredeen, Matthew Govea, Abrams and Markie Delgadillo, who are all on the Tigers roster, will be competing in the 12-year-old All Star squad for the Turlock American side.
The squad will be coached by Tigers head coach Steve Abrams, Govea and Matt Livingston.
The 12-year olds first game is set for 7p.m. June 28 in Atwater against Atwater.