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12-year old National and American All-Stars to meet in semi-finals
12 year olds
Aaron Hayner throws a pitch during Saturdays game between the Turlock American All-Stars and the Los Banos National All-Stars at Julien Field. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

The Turlock American and Turlock National All-Stars blew through the 12-year-old bracket of the California District 73 Little League All-Star Tournament on Saturday and Sunday, crushing their opponents and setting up an in-town, semi-final game on Thursday.

The American All-Stars opened up the tournament against the Los Banos National All-Stars on Saturday and wasted no time jumping onto the scoreboard. Aaron Hayner struck first with a two-run shot into right field which was followed by a Dominic Silva home run that added two more runs to the score. The heavy hitting continued in the second inning as Clay Abrams rocked the ball deep into center for a grand slam and Alex Silva notched a two-run homer of his own. By the third inning the American All-Stars led 10-0.

“I knew our kids could swing the bat and I expected them to, but I didn’t expect all the home runs,” Turlock American’s head coach Randy Hyner said. “When this group is focused they’re pretty good offensively.”

Silva hit another home run in the third inning as the American All-Stars piled 19 runs onto the scoreboard before the game was called. The Los Banos National All-Stars scored their lone run in the third inning with a walk off home run.

On Sunday, the American All-Stars continued their streak of dominance against the Yosemite All-Stars with an impressive pitching performance from Abrams and Fabio Gutierrez. The two combined for 82 pitches through six innings for the no-hitter victory, 6-0.

Gutierrez lent his hand on offense as well, providing the first runs of the game with a two-run home run which was followed by a Brendon Curnow RBI.

“We just played real solid defensively,” Hyner said.

The National All-Stars also displayed a dominant pitching performance during Saturday’s matchup with the Sierra All-Stars with an Anthony Encalade no-hitter. The 11-1 victory was also aided by a team effort at the plate, spurred by a Brandon Pacheco three-run home run in the third inning.

 “Everyone on the team had at least one base hit; most of them had several,” Turlock National coach John Garcia said.

The National All-Stars used the same formula against the Los Banos American All-Stars on Sunday as Jack Wheeland manned the hill and allowed no hits through six innings. Pacheco and Encalade once again provided the offensive spark early in the game, hitting back to back home runs to swing the momentum in their favor and frustrate their opponents.

“Good pitching and really good offense was the key,” Garcia said. “As a team we’ve just gotten really good defensively and up and down the line up, everyone’s hitting well.”

The two Turlock All-Star teams will meet Thursday in Turlock but the location has yet to be determined. Whether the site is Julien Field or Soderquist Park, the Semi-Final matchup will begin at 7 p.m.

 “The National side has talent, a lot of good players, so it’s going to come down to execution and pitching,” Hyner said. “We’re up for it and I know they’ll be up for it too.”

“They are very excited,” Garcia said of his players. “We expected all along to meet Turlock American because they are a very strong team.”