This year’s Turlock American Little League 12-year-old All-Stars are expecting to have a successful outing when they begin tournament play on Saturday in the District 73 All-Stars from Julien Field.
The American squad will be fortunate enough to have head coach Bill York at the helm after he led the Turlock Christian Eagles to their first CCAA title in program history in his first year as head coach.
Those Eagles closed out the year with an overall record of 20-4 and a league posting of 13-1, reaching the semifinal game of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VII playoff bracket.
“This is my fourth time doing All-Stars and it’s a fun time of the year,” said York. “It’s one of those things that whether you’re finishing in first or second, you can look forward to it as a player, you work hard and try to make it a treat and privilege and they are all deserving, now it is playing for Turlock, your program.”
York is heading the All-Star squad once again and is as excited about the squad that consists of 13 players loaded with potential.
“I think all but two of them can actually throw which is good,” said York. “This is a double elimination format, if you put yourself behind the eight ball you have to go through a lot of games, so we have a lot of pitching, plenty of catching, lot of skilled infielders with work up the middle and some fast guys. Pitching and defense are a premium this year.”
The team consists of Hunter Arellano, Mason Baker, Clayton Cornell, Preston Durham, Carson Gonzales, Andrew Lujan, Daniel Mazon, Riley McCord, Robert McDaniel, Jordan Mikkelson, Dustin Newsome, Caleb Wilson and Rob York.
It helps that Gonzales is a two-time All-Star player said York.
“He was the best pitcher by far in league this year so expect him to do well,” said York.
Mazon is also another one of those players on the list of three-time All-Stars.
“He has blossomed into a really good baseball player, but he has always been good,” said York. “We have Mason Baker who was on the Yankees, and amazing how these kids grow at this age. That is the big thing that a lot of them understand baseball which is big for me, the baseball IQ.”
Last year this squad as 11-year-olds made it to state before losing two straight games.
This left the team and coach York hungry for another go.
“They were happy with how they performed winning District and Sections but they want to get back to the state tournament,” said York. “Just to prove themselves that they are better, that is their goal. As 11-year-olds they finished in seventh last year in state. Ten guys from last year’s team made it this year.”
The Turlock Americans will open up tournament play against Atwater from Julien Field at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“It should be fun, but it’s baseball and you never know. We open up with Atwater, they have a really good team and they have some guys returning,” said York. “Winner of first round plays Los Banos. Some really good teams, then Mariposa, TNLL and Yosemite if we can get past these teams then we should be alright.”