The start of the District 73 Little League All-Star tournament for the 12-year-old teams kicked off on Friday afternoon from Julien Field where the Turlock National squad took on Mariposa under triple digit heat.
The Turlock National squad fell early to Mariposa and never were able to catch up after a quick 1-0 deficit after the first snowballed into a four-run deficit midway through the fifth.
A pair of runs were scored in the bottom half of the fifth to cut the lead to 4-2, but in the sixth a few base running miscues led to two outs and the game ended in a 4-2 loss for the National side.
“I think we came out early playing a little flat. We allowed base runners and let them get around and then we had to play from behind instead of being up,” said Turlock National head coach Matt Day.
The Turlock National side also saw a plethora of pitchers with six making an appearance for the game.
Day said it was all part of the plan.
“We came out with a game plan, knowing that in order to go deep we needed to use all of our pitchers and stay within 20 to play through the tournament,” said Day. “We pulled Josh (Weatherbee) to save him and throw him another day, it was our strategy.”
Luke Adam came in to relieve Weatherbee and went into the third inning with two outs when Brian Teague came in to close out the third.
Mariposa went up 3-0 after a two-run triple extended the lead by the start of the fourth.
In the top of the fifth, Mariposa added another run just before Turlock National responded with their bats.
Ernesto Marquez of Turlock led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk, then Allison Camren stepped up to the plate and standing over 5-foot-10, she blasted a double to the outfield with no outs and set up two runners in scoring position.
“We began the rally when Ali came up and figured maybe we should move her up in the lineup batting order to give us a chance, our top four hitters were just timid today,” said Day.
Following the first out of the inning, Will McGee stepped up to the plate and hit an RBI blooper just inside the right field foul line to make it 4-1 after Marquez crossed home plate.
A pitching change ensued for Mariposa, then finally after a pass ball, the pinch runner for Camren—Teague—came home to cut the lead to 4-2 with two outs.
Marquez pitched a shutout inning in the top of the sixth, setting up his offense for a possible comeback.
Weatherbee led off the sixth with a walk, but was eventually picked off at second base from an outfield throw after attempting to take second to add two runners on base.
With two outs and a runner on base, Camren stepped up to the plate once again and once more she leveled a pitch right past the second baseman and into the right center field wall.
Camren rounded first base and while Marquez was passing through third base, getting ready to score, Camren was called out at second base after a very close call.
Next for the 12-year-old Turlock National squad is a game against an opponent yet to be determined from Julien at 7 p.m. Sunday.
“We are in the loser’s bracket, but we have a great team and I am very confident we can come back and win it,” Day added. “I know we can bounce back from that loss and play the way I know we can play since it’s the best 12-year-old (team) I’ve seen the last few years here. We are stacked and we just played a bit flat today.”