Four — that is how many baseballs the Turlock American 11-year olds hit over the fence Monday at Osborn Park in Atwater during an All Stars matchup against crosstown rivals, the Turlock Nationals.
After a stingy start in the first three innings, the Americans scored six runs in the fifth and five in the sixth en route to a 14-1 win in the opening round of the District 73 All-Star tournament.
“I didn't expect this score... not at all,” said American head coach Kurtis Carr. “Even though it was close early. They [National] stayed in the ball game and their starter Matt [Morris] was great. He kept us off balance, but fortunately we busted it open a little later.”
“We just need to get the bats going,” said National head coach Aaron Bates. “The top of the lineup did some things early on but the rest of the lineup seemed like we were sort of frozen up there so we need to attack because these kids will throw strikes. We can't sit and take pitches. Our kids did well, but we just faced a team that hits the ball really well and it happens.”
Matt Morris started for the National side and went three innings before being relieved by Sergio Romo in the fourth.
By the end of the fourth inning the score was only 3-1, with the American side taking the early lead off a Zach Mayol solo homerun.
Led by starter Boston Souza for the American side, the right-handed tosser pitched a great game as he went four innings and struck out nine before being relieved by Dylan Fuller.
In the fifth, Mayol, down on the count 0-2, hit a single which was followed by a Griffen Sotomayor and Souza walk which loaded the bases for Kaden Peterson.
With a 1-2 pitch count, Peterson then made perfect contact on the fourth pitch and heaved the ball over the right center field wall and the American side went up 7-1 with no outs at that point.
Two more runs crossed home and the Americans went up by eight runs with one inning remaining.
Fuller retired the side in the bottom half of the fifth as he struck out two of three batters faced and tossed only 10 pitches for the three-up and three-down inning.
“I was happy that we got contributions from other areas in our lineup,” said Carr. “It wasn't like it was our number one through four hitters carrying us or anything like that. Our pitching was so strong too, both Boston and Dylan were great.”
In the top of the sixth the Americans were not done, as Fuller smashed a two-run double to take a 10-run lead and then minutes later Aidan Askil hit a two-run homer on the third pitch and Jack Paslay followed with a first pitch homer over the center field wall.
“Really excellent, just an impressive performance,” said Carr of his team.
Fuller retired six of seven batters faced in two shutout innings after ending the contest with a double-play.
The National team's only run came after Josh Leonardo scored on a pass ball.
“I thought we were sound on defense, made some little mistakes but nothing that would cost us the score to be as lopsided as it looked,” Bates added. “We will come back and play as hard as we can.”
The Turlock American side will be facing an opponent yet to be determined at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Osborn Park in Atwater.