It wasn't difficult to pinpoint the key moment for the 13-to-14-year olds of the Turlock American Little League All-Stars in their 14-4 victory over Turlock National at Pedretti Park on Thursday night in front of dozens of fans.
“Obviously, having seven runs in the first inning helped,” Turlock American coach Roy Allsup said.
His team put Turlock National on edge by loading the bases several times in the frame, ultimately leading to a seven-run rally. The Turlock Americans got four hits, one of them a 3-RBI double from Ryan Vargas that helped set an early tone in the elimination game.
Turlock American's prize? The Chowchilla All-Stars, who hadn't lost going into Friday's late game against Turlock American.
Still, Thursday's win was impressive for Turlock American, who suffered a 14-4 loss to Turlock National on Monday night.
“I think the kids came in motivated,” Allsup said. “We had a good two days of practice. They were relaxed. They played as a team, and the team wins.”
Turlock American was effective in many ways. They loaded the bases several times throughout the game, and had big nights from Eric Garibay (two hits, one run, one RBI), Blake Cederlind (three hits, two runs) and Austin Bush (two hits, three runs and got on base five times).
Bush, Cederlind and Nick Mirza shared the mound together, collectively shutting out the Turlock Nationals in three innings.
But Turlock National avoided the 10-run mercy rule in the fifth with three runs after Justin Bradley, Rafael Herrera and Derek Finney scored.
So those seven runs in the first helped Turlock American.
“The kids never relaxed, they stayed focus and I think the score showed that,” Allsup said.
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