Head coach Bill York is happy and so is his Turlock American 12-year-old All-Stars after they toppled the Turlock Nationals squad in an 11-1 mercy-rule final from Julien Field on Tuesday afternoon in the District 73 semifinal game.
The win launched the American team to the District 73 Championship game while the National side, after a 2-0 start, were bumped down into the losers’ bracket with a win or go home situation set for them on Wednesday against Atwater.
“We will come back tomorrow and get a win and hopefully face these guys in the championship game on Thursday and that is the goal right now, we have a lot more work to do,” said Turlock Nationals head coach Nick Paslay.
“It’s pretty nice to be back here, we are doing what we need to do,” said York. “We didn’t get a bye so we exhausted our best pitchers but we have a lot more in the tank and I am excited how Districts is going, being able to mix and match kids.”
The tournament kicked off on Saturday with a doubleheader from Julien.
The National side had the early game and they beat Mariposa 18-3 while the American squad shutout Atwater, 13-0, in the afternoon contest.
Both wins by both Turlock teams secured their spots in the quarterfinals on Sunday where they came out and responded once again.
Turlock American beat Los Banos in a 3-0 shutout while Turlock National came out with an 8-1 win over Yosemite and the crosstown match was set for Tuesday.
“I don’t think many expected us to be in the winners’ bracket at 2-0 right away and I am proud about what they done and they are ready to win,” said Paslay.
It was the American squad that went up 3-0 after the first inning, scoring twice on passed balls. They extended their lead to 4-0 heading into the third.
In the top of the fourth, the National team scored their only run on a sacrifice RBI to make it 4-1, but then three more runs were added by the American team in the bottom half.
A significant story of Tuesday’s game occurred when Hailey Bacon checked into the game in the fourth inning for the National squad—on the mound.
Bacon, the only girl for either side, allowed just a pair of runs in the fourth while she struck out two.
She ended up pitching 1 and 1/3 innings while she struck out three of her four outs. Bacon also singled in the top of the fifth.
“She came in ready to go,” Paslay said about Bacon. “I told her yesterday she would be throwing today, I told her she wouldn’t be starting but I knew she was going to throw. My approach was she has a funky delivery, but she throws the ball hard and I wanted to keep them off balance. That is a good hitting team and the nerves got to us, mental mistakes and errors and not enough to win.”
Once Bacon was taken out in the bottom of the fifth, the flood gates opened.
The Americans scored four runs, including multiple runs scored on passed ball scenarios.
This ended the game at 11-1 in a mercy-rule decision with two outs remaining in the fifth.
“I think we came out a little bit flat,” said Paslay. “I don’t know if it’s facing a fellow Turlock team, there is more hype and some nerves involved and it happens, you can’t hang your head, that team is used to winning a lot in big games and we are trying to make a name for ourselves.”
Turlock National will face Atwater at 7 p.m. Wednesday and the winner will face Turlock Americans in the Championship game on Thursday.
“I think I’ve been here pretty much for every single game and Atwater has a quality squad, Los Banos has a quality squad and Turlock National has a quality squad,” said York. “The reason you want to stay out of the losers’ bracket is because once you are in it you have to play every single day and pitching becomes an issue but we are not looking past any of them, I believe they have good squads.”