All three of the Turlock National Little League softball teams have been crowned the 2022 District 73 champions in their respective age groups after going unbeaten across the board. The teams will now move onto the section and state tournaments.
In the 10-year-old age group, the inaugural team dominated their way in the tournament against Atwater Little League. The district tournament only consisted of Turlock and Atwater playing a best of three series because of the fact that there are no other Little League softball teams in the area.
In both games, Turlock forced early game stoppages due to the mercy rule. In the first matchup, Turlock walked away with a 24-12 victory in only four innings. The team somehow was able to best that performance in the second game, which saw them cruise to a 17-2 win in just three innings, earning them a spot in the section tournament.
While the 10s competed in their very first year of existence, the 12-year-old age group was looking to build upon previous success. After debuting in 2019, the 12s became the district champs in 2021. They team successfully defended their title this year after another two-game sweep against Atwater, who also remains the only other local Little League program with softball 12s.
Game one was tightly contested throughout all six innings, with Turlock inching out a 14-3 win. In the second game, the Turlock offense exploded for 17 runs to ensure they had a little bit more breathing room to eventually secure a 17-11 victory. The 12s will also move onto to their section tourney.
The Juniors achieved similar success against Atwater with a 19-10 win in the first game. Game two of the series was also a shootout between the high-powered offenses, with Turlock pulling away with a 19-16 win.
Because there are no other Junior-level softball teams in the section, Turlock will automatically advance to the NorCal state tournament.
“These wins mean the world to our league, and I hope it means the world to these girls and their families,” said Turlock National Little League President Regina Coletto. “Having all three teams earn tournament wins while only needing two games is just phenomenal. Being one the people who has been involved in the league since the beginning in 2019, it’s one of those things that brings a tear to my eye.”
Coletto is hopeful that the recent success can encourage more Little League softball programs to get started across the region.
“There are obviously softball programs in the area whether it be travel teams or recreational, but only a handful that are apart of Little League,” she explained. “It’s exciting for people to see these girls develop and have success, which could help grow the league outside of Turlock, Atwater and other cities down south.”
As the teams move on and prepare for travel, Coletto also expressed her appreciation for everybody in Turlock and the surrounding area who make Little League softball possible.
“I think it’s really important to highlight that everything is ran by volunteers, whether it be the umpires, scorekeepers, coaches, they all dedicate their time to make this league happen,” she said. “Without them, the girls wouldn’t be able to compete or have the experiences they’re having.”
All three teams will be back on the field on Saturday. The 10s and 12s will travel to Madera for the section tournament while the Juniors will head to Natomas for the NorCal state tournament.