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First round win for American 11s
American 11s 2
Matt Leonesio started on the mound for the American 11-year-olds and picked up the win after tossing five innings and allowing just two earned runs. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

The Section 6 All-Star tournament began this past weekend for the Turlock American 11-year-old team who squared off against Morada on Sunday at Madison Park in Stockton in their opening contest that ended well by the conclusion of the day.

Matt Leonesio started on the mound for the Americans and picked up the win after tossing five innings and allowing just two earned runs behind an offense that went on to score four-runs in a single inning and eventually took the 6-4 victory in a tight game.

“The kids played great, started off flat in the first three innings but got it all going afterwards and were right back in it,” said American head coach Grady Welch.

It wasn't the prettiest game for Welch's squad, but the 11s seemed determined to keep their win streak alive and managed to pull away after a hot inning in the fourth.

“It was a very tight game, well pitched from both sides,” said Welch. “The difference was the fourth inning when Morada didn't do much, they left batters on base but we just had a breakout inning.”

Morada started off the game by posting up the first run of the game in the top of the first after Leonesio was forced to throw 30 of his 85 pitches in that inning alone.

Morada struck back-to-back doubles and eventually just tacked on the RBI with a double and they took an early 1-0 lead after the Americans prevented more runs from crossing the plate.

“The strike zone felt squeezed with a tight start but it was called the same on both sides,” said Welch.

Leonesio followed up with two strikeouts in the second and in the third, he struck out two of five batters faced before shutting down Morada once again in the fourth to provide three shutout consecutive innings pitched before the team went off.

“Matt pitched really well under pressure and got us out of some jams early on,” said Welch of Leonesio.

Offensively, the Americans were able to tie the ball game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second after Leonesio helped himself with an RBI single to score Max Welch.

Welch led off in the fourth inning with a single to begin the four-run rally and two batters later, Tyler Ness drove in Kyle Ericksen and Welch with a two-run double to make it 3-1. '

Leonesio then came up to the plate and drilled an RBI double to extend the lead to 4-1 and he scored on Dominic Damarte to make it 5-1.

The Americans never trailed for the remainder of the game, despite allowing three more runs in the final two innings.

Morada scored two runs in the fifth on consecutive RBI singles then after that, Gavin Farinha was called in for relief duties in the sixth and was able to finish it off.

Farinha faced four batters and struck out the final two to end the side, giving up one run on a hit.

The Americans' sixth and final run came in the fifth inning after Teague Fredeen scored following three throwing errors from Morada for the insurance run.

Leonesio was 3 for 3, with two RBI and a run scored. Damarte was 1 for 1 with an RBI. Welch was 2 for 3 with two runs scored and Fredeen was 1 for 2 with a run scored. Ericksen was 1 for 3 with a run scored.