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American 12s: From losers' bracket to champions
12 year old District 73 Champs 2013
The 12-year-old Turlock American squad hoists their District 73 championship banner. - photo by Photo contributed by Becky Mirza

The 12-year-old Turlock American All-Stars are the 73 district All-Star champions after defeating the Los Banos All-Stars in back-to-back games in Atwater. The American team outscored Los Banos, 32-14.

“Last year we went to the state championships and this year we are expected to reach regionals,” Turlock American coach Nathan Mirza said. “There is a lot of pressure on the team to perform; it’s been hard to get them to gel together. Everybody was working together to win, but we really broke out on Sunday night after beating Los Banos.”

On Monday, Joe Romeo—who has been one of the most dominant Little League pitchers in the state—started and tossed a complete four inning game, striking out the final batter for the victory. After scoring eight in the first, Los Banos retaliated to make it 8-5 going into the third inning. Five runs were scored in the third and eight in the fourth during the 21-5 mercy-rule victory.

Sunday’s starter for the American side was Clayton Sousa who pitched four innings. Kaleb Welch pitched 1  2/3 innings coming in to relieve Sousa. Cameron Sherwood was brought in to face the last batter and struck him out with only four pitches to end the ball game, 11-9.

The tournament began for the American squad with a 4-3 win over Yosemite last Sunday followed by a loss to the Los Banos squad 2-1 last Wednesday that dropped them in the losers' bracket.  That's where the Americans made their turnaround after defeating cross-town rivals, Turlock Nationals, in the semi-final game. Cody Curry tossed a complete game, 82 pitches, struck out nine and allowed only two runs and six hits en route to Saturday’s, 6-2 win.

Saturday’s game saw a five-run third rally for the American side began when Luke Curtis’ two-run homer scored Tyler Gil followed by a Case Pacheco RBI single that scored Sousa. Casey Carr ended it with a two-run home run that scored Pacheco. The only run for the National squad came after a two-run jack from Tyler Stout drove in Houston Sims in the top of the third.

“The kids are playing together, getting pumped, they realized their responsibility on the team and it is huge, I told the kids last night that Sunday was either a fluke and got lucky or got back tonight and proved that they are the team that everyone thinks and expects,” Mirza said about his team.

The sections tournament is starting Saturday in Stockton against the winner of District 8.