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National 11s hungry for District title
National 11s all stars 1
The Turlock National 11-year-old All-Stars practice quickly snagging ground balls and tossing them to first base. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/ The Journal

District 73 will kick off their All-Star Little League Tournament from Colorado Park in Los Banos on Friday for the 11-year-old All-Stars and the Turlock National side is ready.

It will take a complete effort from the squad that will see last year’s winners in Turlock American in their first game to kick off tournament play.

 “No pressure to kick it off against Turlock American, but it’s never easy,” said Turlock National 11s head coach Jeff Naranjo. “You know it’s not going to be easy, like I said all the other teams are really good but it’s just once you get there you have to keep your head up and comes down to who gets hits and commits fewer errors.”

Naranjo also emphasized on the significance of his assistant coaches in Jason Scott and Ronnie Rose, who have been great assets.

During the regular season Naranjo was the head coach for the Marlins squad and from that team he has brought on Carlos Naranjo, Blake Rose and Mariano Pulido.

“Three of the Marlins are on the team and two of them are returning all stars from last year,” said Naranjo. “We didn’t have that great of a season other than my team had fun and we had some real close fun games, but it wasn’t as good as I would have wanted it to be.”

Tommy Pagola (Giants) also joins the team along with the Rockies’ Emir Cervantes, Izaak Saenz, Izaiah Saenz and Justin Mayfield.

Ryder Scott and Grant Day of the Mets also join the squad along with Abriel Padilla (Pirates), Marshall Gardener (Pirates) and Joseph Delte (Dodgers).

A total of 13 players make up this year’s roster with eight returning from last year’s 10-year-old All Stars.

“That is really good for these kids since they play during the regular season and All Stars obviously,” said Naranjo. “A lot of these kids can go at any position and we have a lot more pitching this year which should be able to help us out and just a great group of 11-year-olds.”

Of the 13 on the squad, six will see innings on the mound and the team has some big hitters as well according to Naranjo.

“We have a lot of really big hitters on this team,” said Naranjo. “We have about six pitchers this year, all real solid pitchers who pitched in Majors, Ryder Scott from Mets is a good pitcher and Rose, Mayfield, Padilla and two other kids we have that can throw the ball…it is about going out there and essentially having fun.”

The Turlock Nationals will kick off District 73 play from Colorado Park in Los Banos against Turlock American at 7 p.m. Friday.