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Defensive miscues cost Turlock 12s in Section finale loss
12s pic 1
Turlock American 12-year-old Tyler Ness throws the ball to first base during Wednesdays 15-5 loss to Morada of Stockton in the Section 6 Final. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

Defensive mishaps and unearned runs overshadowed Wednesday's game between the Turlock American 12-year-old All Stars and Morada of Stockton, who squared off for the Section 6 Championship.

Unfortunately, Turlock was on the losing end after they struggled to match their intensity from their first meeting with Morada and fell in a mercy-rule decision after a 15-5 final in the bottom of the fifth.

“I still give our guys credit for playing hard. I just think they were the better team these past two days,” said Turlock American head coach Kenny Leonesio about losing to Morada in back-to-back games for the Section title.

Turlock won their first game, toppling Northgate, 13-4, on Saturday and followed that up by winning 8-4 on Sunday against Morada. They then lost 13-2 to Morada on Tuesday prior to Wednesday's winner take all.

“We beat them in the semifinal and I think in that first game, the moment wasn't too big, the kids were relaxed and came out ready to play,” said Leonesio. “They are good and we didn't make pitches and they hit them, so you have to give them credit, they did what we couldn't do.”

Despite Morada's solid lineup, it was Turlock which looked like the superior team early on after they scored three runs in the top of the first inning to go up 3-0.

Morada then tacked on seven runs in an inning where Turlock committed multiple errors and allowed unearned runs.

It was the start of a snowball effect that led to half a dozen errors committed by the defense for the game.

“We’ve been playing really good defense, but in the final, we really didn't,” said Leonesio. “But that is just how it goes. The two games we lost were also the two games we played the worse defense as well, something to stress to get better at, but Morada is a good team with really good players.”

Morada added a run before getting an out in the second and led 12-3 by the bottom of the third.

Turlock was kept off the board and was forced to swing and miss on multiple occasions. This trickled down till the end, but there were still sparks.

Gavin Farinha leveled a solo home-run over the right field fence on the second pitch of his at-bat to cut the lead to 12-4 in top of the fourth.

Morada added a run in the bottom half of the fourth.

Sean Clark of Turlock blasted a solo homer over the right field fence to cut the lead to 13-5 before Morada closed out the game in the bottom half.

“I thought it was a great season,” said Leonesio. “And I think the kids all improved over the time we have been together and that is the biggest thing. Everyone wants to win, I get that, but every one of the guys improved and I am proud of that.”