The 12-year-old Turlock National All-Stars overcame adversity on Tuesday, defeating the Turlock American All-Stars in come-back fashion, 12-11, to claim the District 73 Little League All-Star Championship. Tuesday’s game was the third matchup between the Turlock teams in the tournament.
Turlock National and Turlock American first met in the semi-finals where the National All-Stars prevailed, sending their rivals to the losers’ bracket. The American All-Stars battled back from defeat and earned a chance at revenge in what turned out to be a two-series championship matchup thanks to a 6-1 victory over the National All-Stars on Monday.
“They came out determined,” National head coach John Garcia said of the American All-Stars. “There’s no doubt about it, they’re a really good ball club.”
Turlock American continued to press the National All-Stars on Tuesday, jumping out to a 10-3 lead by the fourth inning. The National All-Stars jump started their offensive production in the bottom of the 4th inning, however, with a three-run homer from Anthony Encalade that cut Turlock American’s lead by three runs.
The American All-Stars scored once more in the fifth inning but were held scoreless in the top of the sixth, setting up a do or die situation for Turlock National.
“It was great to see this team not give up,” Garcia said of his team.
Brett Hagen got the ball rolling with a base hit. Two batters later and the bases were loaded after walks, setting up an RBI from Austin Cameron and a Jack Wheeland double to tie the game. With one out, Bobby Martinez stepped up to the plate, eyed the pitch, and hit a chopper into center field for the winning run. The championship belonged to Turlock National.
“They kept playing and they never felt like the game was over,” Garcia said. “It was really satisfying to see them overcome adversity.”
The Turlock National All-Stars must now face Amador County West of District 15 today at 7 p.m. in the Little League Sectional Tournament. The game will be played in Ione.