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American 11s headed to District championship
American 11s
Carson Gonzales of the Turlock American 11-year-old All Stars tossed 2 and 2/3 innings of shutout ball in Monday's 17-0 mercy-rule win over Atwater in the semifinal game of the District 73 tournament. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

The Turlock American 11-year-old All Stars punched their ticket to the District 73 Tournament Championship game after Monday's third straight mercy-rule victory, this time against Atwater.

Nine runs were scored in the first inning and the offense followed with eight more runs scattered in the next two innings to defeat Atwater 17-0 in a mercy-rule victory.

“We came out swinging,” said Turlock American head coach Bill York. “They are not really looking ahead, they are just showing up and playing. They are not showboating or anything... really, they are just showing up and playing hard on that day, and it’s refreshing. These guys are an even keel and doing their job; it’s a lot of fun.”

The American squad took the tournament by storm, opening their tournament play with a 15-3 win on Friday followed by a 14-2 mercy-rule win over the Turlock National squad, setting up a semifinal battle with Atwater.

Prior to the game, the Americans had struck out just three times in the first two games. On Monday, however, they struck out five times. They still won most of their at-bats, while York was also able to rotate through his entire lineup once again.

“We were able to get everyone in there, just very fortunate,” said York. “We have mercy-ruled all three games... everybody has gotten playing time and most of the time, everybody is averaging two at-bats at least and everybody has started, they are making it easy to coach... just so much fun.”

The first six batters in the first inning scored before an out occurred. By the time the first ended, the Americans had taken a 9-0 lead.

American starting pitcher Carson Gonzales went 2 and 2/3 innings, tossing 54 pitches while allowing no runs and picking up the win.

A pair of runs in the second led to an 11-0 lead before the third-inning rally sealed the deal.

“We put the ball in play, these guys can hit,” said York. “Things are going according to the plan, pitching is doing what they need to do, we are seeing the guys we want to see, it's working out. We won’t change formulas, we’re going to do what we are doing and swing the bats.”

The American side has outscored their last three opponents, 46-5.

The 11s also join the 10 and 12-year-old All Star squads from the American side to reach the District 73 final this year.

The Americans will next take on an opponent yet to be determined from Julien field for the District 73 title at 7 p.m. Thursday.