The Turlock American Senior All Stars’ season came to an end Monday in the Nor Cal Tournament from Pedretti Park.
Turlock American head coach Ray Caldera told his squad not to hang their heads after his squad suffered a close 7-5 loss to Redding in a win or go home situation following a first-round loss to the Oakland All Stars.
“You can't play catch up, especially with teams like this being in the Nor Cal tournament,” said Caldera. “You have to go out there and get it while you have it. Again, I did see some errors that maybe led to errors that we got but we can't play catch up especially with teams like this, these teams are here for a reason.”
The American squad won back-to-back tournaments prior to the start of Nor Cals on Saturday, winning the District and Section banners with a handful of talent from Turlock, Pitman and Turlock Christian High.
In the first round of Nor Cals, the Americans committed multiple errors while they allowed five unearned runs and fell to Oakland, 7-6.
Following the close loss to Oakland, Turlock was able to settle in and move forward with their first game in the loser's bracket against Redding.
“Really our thought process was to get the kids into the game and ready to play,” said Caldera. “A lot of the errors were mental errors, and we kind of wanted them to clear that from their heads and go out and play baseball like they could following that game against Oakland.”
In the second round, Turlock was down 1-0 in the bottom of the second then Redding added two more runs before the inning ended to go up 3-0.
Tony Modica added the first run of the game for the American side, after drilling an RBI single and scoring Jordan Jimenez and making it 3-1.
A scoreless inning in the third was followed by a two-run rally to start the fourth inning that tied the game at 3-3 after Corey Edh and Dallas Desousa each added an RBI with a hit apiece.
“Really, I think it’s all about the bats,” said Caldera. “There were games when the bats were hot. There were games where we put up 10 runs or 14, but today the hits were just infield hits, not like we have seen in the past or in batting practice.”
Redding went up 4-3 by the start of the fifth and added two more in the fifth to take a 6-3 lead by the sixth.
A run was added in the sixth and the lead was extended to 7-3 with American starting pitcher Jimenez tossing all six innings and finishing with 90 pitches thrown.
On the brink of elimination, all looked to be over for the American squad before they rallied and nearly mounted a comeback.
Eight consecutive batters were eliminated leading up to the rally in the seventh inning with two outs on the board.
Marcus Robinson smacked a two-run single to cut the lead to 7-5, with two outs and a pitching change ensued.
“My mind was hoping the boys came through and got the bats hot like we saw throughout the year,” said Caldera. “It was late, but this team seemed hungry, but also it kicks in if they find themselves down, really needs to come the entire game but it was exciting towards the end that we could do damage but we just fell short.”
Nick Tullio hit a hard single up the middle and was the tying run, allowing the go ahead to go up the plate.
Brandon Starr followed as he drilled a hard ball to the shortstop for the final out.
“I am satisfied. The last two years have been two and done,” Caldera added. “We started very young and now they are older and it was their time and they delivered with what they needed to do, and when their mind is in it, they are unstoppable. Kind of sad it’s done but some of these kids will be moving on and do some good things, especially in high school.”