The stakes were high during Wednesday’s Section 6 All-Star Championship game between Turlock American and Delta. Both teams ran onto Julien Field determined to end the day with a trophy and banner in their hands, but only one could prevail.
After five and a half innings of play, Turlock and Delta entered the bottom of the sixth inning with the score tied, 9-9. With a mountain of pressure on his back, Turlock’s Matt Livingston stepped up to the plate with two outs and a runner on base and assumed the role of hero, hitting a line drive to left field and scoring the winning run. The final score was 10-9.
“It’s was probably, hands down, the best Little League game I’ve been a part of,” American head coach Leon Curtis said. “It was a very emotional game and the kids did a good job. I’m very proud of them.”
Livingston began the day from the hill where he shutdown Delta’s offense through three innings. Delta’s defense returned the favor, though, keeping Turlock off the board despite numerous hits. The scoring finally started in the top of the fourth inning when Delta knocked in three runs off back to back singles. Turlock responded in the bottom of the fourth in spectacular fashion, snatching Delta’s lead with a Jonathan Neal grand slam over the right field wall.
After a two-run inning for Delta in the top of the fifth, Turlock jumped out to a four-run lead thanks to RBIs from Marky Delgadillo and Livinsgston as well as a three-run double from Cole Pacheco. Delta tied the game up in the top of the sixth inning with four runs, but the effort wasn’t enough to claim the Section 6 title.
“Sure, you want to win a championship, but the kids will always remember the fashion in which they won,” Curtis said. “And they got to do it in front of a home crowd. What more can you ask for?”
The Turlock American All-Stars will be in Ranch Murrieta Saturday, taking part in the Northern California State Divisions Tournament. This is the furthest any 10-year-old All-Star team from Turlock has advanced in Little League history.