The 12-year-old Turlock American All-Stars were crowned the Section 6 champions Tuesday night after besting Hoover Tyler, 2-1.
The championship tops an outstanding year for the squad that included a District 73 title.
Since they were 10-year-olds, this team has won a District and Section title every year at the All-Star level, tallying up three District titles and Section titles over the course of three seasons.
“It’s not easy to do at all, it’s an elite group of kids,” said Turlock head coach Phil Govea. They’re skilled and work hard and they compete and they have a lot of talent and they have made the most of their talent no doubt. We will see how they do in state.”
The historic run continued with a 2-1 win over Hoover Tyler at Soderquist Park on Tuesday night in the Section title game.
“It was a tight game. It was really a pitchers’ duel,” said Govea. “Hoover Tyler changed their strategy and had a great game plan. Instead of trying to throw past us, they tried to fool us with off speed pitching and they were successful in doing that against us. We did hit the ball, but not like previous games because the breaking ball was effective.”
The Turlock All-Stars had a rough time tallying up base hits throughout the game due to the change in pitch speeds. They left nine runners stranded throughout the game and only came away with two scores, but that was all that was needed thanks to a stellar job from starting pitcher Andy Owen.
Owen was able to dominate the game from the mound by tossing a complete game, in which he threw 85 pitches and allowed only three hits, with the only run coming by way of a sacrifice.
“Our guys struggled throughout the game and had trouble laying back on the off speed pitches hitting the dirt, we struggled with that,” said Govea. “Defensively Owen was lights out good, pitched a gem.”
The first run came in the first inning after Matthew Livingston managed to beat out a throw to first base and Markie Delgadillo scored from third base to take the 1-0 lead early on.
Turlock’s second run came in a near similar fashion in the top of the fourth as Livingston once again came through with an RBI single down the right field line to score Delgadillo.
Hoover Tyler would then tack on their only run of the game in the bottom of the fourth after an RBI sacrifice fly.
After a couple of tight and tense situations with runners on base, especially in the sixth, Owen was able to strike out the top two batters and forced a fly out to Delgadillo for the final out in which he had amassed exactly 85 pitches.
“It’s definitely an elite group and we’re fortunate to get to where we are, but the coaches like to say that the players win games and managers can’t. The players deserve all the credit,” Govea said. “We helped put them in positions to win and they have responded well.”
The next step for the team is a trip to the Nor-Cal Divisional tournament on Saturday where they will begin play against Woodcreek at 4 p.m. at Cambrian Park in San Jose.