The Giants are the new champions of Turlock Little League after they defeated the Rangers by a score of 3-2 on Saturday. The game revolved around dominant pitching from both teams, whose pitchers tossed a combined 26 strikeouts.
The Rangers got the scoring going in the top of the second inning when Zane Simbalenko scored on an RBI single by Grant Wellman. The Giants answered back immediately in the bottom of the inning when Max Hall had an RBI hit of his own. The 1-1 deadlock would remain until the fifth inning.
With Brynnen Cupit of the Giants dealing on the mound, the Rangers had to get creative on the basepaths. The Rangers’ Amen Bunch reached base in the fifth after smacking a double. Bunch proceeded to steal third base and would score on a passed ball, giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
As it was in the second inning, the Giants did not let a deficit discourage them as they came back to take the lead in the bottom half of the fifth off a clutch 2-RBI double by Charlie Zylstra.
In the last inning, Cupit remained on the mound, getting the first two outs. Hall would eventually come on in relief and retired the final battle to earn the save and officially clinch the City Championship for the Giants. The title was the first for a Turlock National League team in 14 years.
“The Rangers were a great ball team,” said Giants head coach Tricia Blevins. “This was definitely a battle of pitching and the game could have gone either way. Both teams played their hearts out.”
Rangers head coach Mike Vercammen provided his own thoughts on the game, having high praise for the pitching of Cupit.
“It was a tough loss, but the Giants played a great game. We had our opportunities to put runs on the board but were unable to capitalize. Brynnen pitched phenomenally. He’s hands down one of the best pitchers around this area at his age level and he made it tough for us,” he said.
Vercammen also took time to reflect and highlight the positives of the season while looking forward to 2023.
“As tough as it was to lose, I thought the boys exceeded expectations and had a very successful run throughout the whole season,” he explained. “We have a majority of the team coming back next year so hopefully we’ll be able to have the same level of success as we did this year. We’ll have to work hard for it, but I know the boys are up for the challenge.”
Blevins also expressed her joy for her team to be able to overcome the pressure of a 14-year City Championship drought and accomplish the pinnacle of local Little League competition.
“This has been an amazing season,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for a better end.”