“Dominated” is a word that isn’t used too often when it comes to Little League, a place where most of the athletes are not just learning about the basics of baseball but in some cases figuring out where to stand during announcements of the starting lineups.
But Turlock National coach Steve Sather couldn’t refuse the word when he was talking about ace Nick Avila.
“Nick completely dominated the batting lineup,” Sather said.
Avila pitched a complete game with five strikeouts while allowing five hits, and prevented any kind of surge in the Turlock National’s 11-1 win over Los Banos American in the 10-11 year old division of the Little League All Stars at Soderquist Field on Wednesday evening. The game was called after five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
“They started getting hits, but the defense took care of it,” Avila said.
That was what the Turlock Nationals needed in a game like this, as they jumped out to a 2-0 record with hopes of winning it all. They took a 5-1 lead after four innings but really put the game out of reach in the following frame, thanks to big hits from all around.
The onslaught went like this: Avila got on base after a throwing error from Los Banos’ third baseman. Chris Hanham later sent Avila — along with Alex Selee — home after smashing a triple, which was followed by a little more craziness.
After Hanham scored, Donovan Bravo hit a shot to left-centerfield that was initially enough for just one base. Jordy Lintz made it home on the shot, but Jordan Aguiniga caused havoc after he decided to go home on the same play. That allowed Bravo to advance to third, only to advance home after the throw to try to tag him out went beyond the third baseman’s reach.
The lead was 11-1.
It was the kind of game where everyone contributed in some way. Besides Avila’s impressive pitching — he got himself out of a couple jams, including having two runners in scoring position in the second — the Turlock Nationals took care of things offensively. Lintz had a two-hitter with two runs, Aguiniga finished with two doubles and two runs, Bravo produced two hits, including a triple, and Selee came off the bench to finish with two runs.
“We won two in a row,” said Sather, the coach, “but you never know in All Stars. Every team in the league has their best players, but all my players came together really well. Everybody is gelling really well.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.