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American 12s blank Mariposa in mercy-rule win
American 12s
Julian Espinoza of the Turlock American 12-year-olds came in to relieve Zach Mayol and tossed three shutout innings to close out the game. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

The Turlock American 12s notched their second straight mercy-rule victory over Mariposa on Wednesday, in a game that ended with the Turlock team clinching a spot in the District 73 All-Star Championship final.

“We felt we came in prepared because we had watched Mariposa play the game prior to ours and so we saw four or five of their pitchers and we kind of knew what we were in for,” said American head coach Kurtis Carr.

They did but it wasn't as powerful of a performance as their first game.

Instead, Mariposa managed to hold the Americans to just nine runs, one shy of a mercy-rule decision after four innings, forcing a fifth inning.

After scoring three runs in the first inning, the Americans added three runs in the top of the second after Kaden Petersen drilled a solo home-run over the scoreboard to make it 4-0 with one out.

“I wasn't trying to hit a homerun, I was looking to make solid contact with the ball but it just turned out to be a homer since I hit it hard,” said Petersen. “I think we took them a bit lightly because I feel we could have played better, but we did a good enough job overall to win.”

Mariposa made a pitching change immediately after the homer from Petersen and the Americans took advantage of the fresh arm as Cooper Carr and Aidan Askil got on base safely and Zach Mayol highlighted the inning with a two-run double to extend their lead to 6-0.

Mayol also started from the mound and pitched two shutout innings of ball before Julian Espinoza came in for relief duties.

Two runs were added in the third, starting with a Will York solo homer over the left field wall to make it 7-0 and Drake Browning finished it with an RBI infield single to make it 8-0.

“We tried to put the ball in play and sometimes when we were up we just looked to hit the ball really hard like we did,” said York. “Coach did tell us that just because we won our first game, doesn't mean we have won anything so we need to get out there and play hard.”

Dylan Fuller then leveled a solo homer to deep center over the green wall to extend the lead to 9-0 with no outs in the fourth.

Espinoza, who finished with three shutout innings pitched, tallied an RBI to make it 10-0 in the fifth but soon after, Fuller homered for the second time in the game after hitting a two-run shot over the right field wall and the inning ended 12-0 after Espinoza retired three of the final four batters.

Petersen was 2 for 2 with a home-run and a double and York followed with a 2 for 3 performance and two RBI. Fuller was 3 for 4 with five RBI, two runs scored and a pair of home-runs.

“I think our opponent for Saturday might be riding high but we will be ready for them,” said Petersen.

The Americans will take on the Turlock Nationals in a rematch from the first game of the tournament, 7 p.m. today at Julien Field.

“They need to understand we have a lot of baseball left to play, so they need to be wise in how they spend their time and show up ready to go on Saturday,” said Carr about the two-day break. “They have a lot of work to do, they are pumped.”