The 2015 season is just days from concluding and the playoffs are right around the corner for local Little League majors and minors players from the Turlock American League.
In the majors division, the Yankees have been the most consistent team of the bunch having won 11 straight games heading into the closing stages of the season to give them a 14-1 record after starting 3-1.
“Our record last year was not as good as this year but we made the playoffs,” said Yankees head coach Kurtis Carr. “I think we exceeded expectations. We expected to make the playoffs, once we started practicing and saw how everyone developed, we knew we had a good team when we started to practice, but did not expect to run off and get a 14-1 record.”
Going into Friday, there was a four-way tie for second place between the Red Sox, A's, Angels and Tigers at 8-6, which is 5.5 games behind the Yanks.
The Yankees finished second last season and coming into this year, coach Carr expected to have an experienced group after returning seven players from the prior season.
Cameron Ward, Joseph Mikkelson, Cooper Carr, Dominic Rodriguez, Auki Kapuha-Flores, Kaden Petersen and Aidan Askil make up the returners who lead the best offense of the year, which averages 11.7 runs per game while allowing a season low 3.6.
With the help of first year players, Landyn Magina, Isai Paredes, Matthew Etheridge, Estevan Perez, and Myles Jenkins, the Yankees have added depth to an already all-star caliber lineup that has stayed consistent throughout the year and managed to come away with an 8-7 victory on Wednesday night.
“We as a coaching staff focus on getting a loose team. We don't take things too seriously, we like to have a good time and have fun,” Carr said. “We tell the kids and it’s become our team philosophy, everything we do, we keep it loose and fun and enjoy the ride.”
The team has done nothing but enjoy the ride especially after tallying a season-high in home-runs with 17 as a team.
Rodriguez and Auki combined make up 10 of the teams total to make up one of the more powerful and dangerous line-ups.
The pitching has also been on point, tossing five shutouts in 15 games combined.
“We also have about seven kids that have pitched,” Carr said about his team depth. “”We don’t want to single a kid out because we can't, we just have depth that you don't see in any league at all. The kids know how to change their swing and timing on different situations and pitches and they are intelligent hitters and it’s been fun to watch.”
The Yankees last game is today and the first playoff game is scheduled for May 19.
With over 11 games played for the minors division, so far there are five teams with over eight wins and the sixth place team only has five wins.
The Riverdogs, Bees, Scrappers, Ironbirds and Thunder are on a very tight battle with each team neck and neck as the season comes to an end.
Although the Ironbirds are the top scoring offense, averaging 9.7 runs per game, it is the Riverdogs’ defense that has helped their success be atop the standings after allowing a season low, 2.9 runs per game in 12 games, after putting up 7.3 runs per game.
Nearing the final week and a half there is no doubt that the winners of the final two games between the top five teams will turn out as the winner of the division for the year.