After powering through the District competition, the 11-year-old American All Star team moved into the Section 6 tournament with a chip on their shoulder after an early elimination the previous season.
They powered their way past Northgate of Manteca, 21-12, in their first contest on Saturday, then the following day, the American 11s shutout Sunrise out of Stockton in a 10-0 ball game that went only four innings.
Finally, in Tuesday's title game, Turlock met Northgate—yet again—in a rematch, but this time it was in the championship setting at Duke Powers Field in Valley Springs. But this time, the Turlock team was ready.
The bats came alive early in the contest and Turlock took advantage, going up 4-1 after the second inning. Pitcher Jack Paslay was able to keep Northgate in check for the final innings and Turlock was crowned the Section 6 champions.
“Feels amazing, I mean really good,” said coach Kurtis Carr. “Those kids... it's hard to express it because they were so composed and just clutched up; they did a heckuva job.”
After a sluggish first game victory for the Turlock Americans, they came back on Sunday and were flawless behind the arm of starter Boston Souza.
Souza tossed a complete game shutout in only four innings of work, allowing only one hit as he tossed 42 pitches and struck out eight.
Not only was he effective from the mound but at the plate, Souza also hit the team's walk-off grand-slam in the bottom of the fourth inning to secure the victory.
“We were lights out on Sunday. We played how we played through District in that game, and we played extremely solid defense; it was Boston's game,” said Carr. “He [Souza] pounded the strike zone.”
After a day of rest, the Turlock Americans were back in action on Tuesday as they met Northgate for one final showdown.
Northgate, a scrappy team according to Carr, fought hard, but the Turlock Americans were just determined to win.
Turlock went up by three runs after just the second inning, and after the fourth the opposition had equaled the score at 5-5.
“I knew it wouldn't be enough and sure enough they scored runs and tied it,” Carr said.
Jack Paslay then blasted a two-run homer to put the Americans up 7-5.
Paslay came in to relieve starter Zach Mayol for the final two innings and allowed only one run but tossed a three-up and three-down sixth inning to secure the victory.
“They [Northgate] didn't swing at bad pitches, very disciplined today,” Carr said. “Had runners on base constantly, lineup was always producing for us.”
Over four players finished with a multi-hit game.
“Obviously, I am proud of what we accomplished, we wanted to make Sections and improve on what we did last year,” Carr added. “We thought we had a chance to make State, just happy we're there and want to enjoy the ride and be competitive.”
The Division/State tournament will begin Saturday at Lucchesi Park in Petaluma. The Turlock American 11s have a first round bye and will play on Sunday against an opponent yet to be determined.
“I think the way we swing the bats I know we can have success, but we will see good pitching and our kids [will have to] rise to the occasion and hopefully keep it going,” said Carr.