One pitch and one hit changed the direction of Monday's 11-year-old quarterfinal losers’ bracket matchup between the Turlock National All Stars and Los Banos in the District 73 tournament from Julien field.
With two outs on in the bottom of the sixth, a full count and a runner at third after back-to-back pass balls, a mound visit was called to calm the pitcher, but the following pitch ensued an RBI single up the middle that ended the game with a 7-6 walk-off decision, eliminating the National team.
“We had a good group all around,” said National head coach Harpreet Singh. “No attitude, we had a good squad and the others were good but these kids definitely had a good click and once they got out there, they connected right away so that was fortunate for that. Lucky, I have a bunch of good kids, I was blessed with that.”
The National squad came in with high expectations and kicked off their tourney play with a 14-2 loss to the Turlock American side on Saturday after falling in a mercy-rule decision.
They rallied with a 17-0 victory on Sunday over Delhi, eliminating the third local team in the bracket and setting up a matchup with Los Banos on Monday.
The National squad came out and scored first, after Jorge Orozco added two RBI with a hit, then Alex Trujillo drove in the third run that gave them a three-run lead early.
By the start of the third, LB added a pair of runs and the National added one in the top of the third to extend their lead to 4-2 after Orozco scored on a pass ball.
Nick Simmons started for the National team and went two innings, allowing a pair of runs.
Mason Sisneros came in and tossed 1 and 2/3 innings, finishing with 31 pitches thrown.
“Mason and Nick pitched great and did what we needed of them,” said Singh.
The score remained intact at 4-2 until the bottom of the fifth inning, when LB went on a scoring rally, adding four runs to take the lead at 6-4 by the start of the sixth and final inning.
Down two runs and on the brink of elimination, the Nationals knew that a rally was needed if they wished to continue.
Andrew Aleixo, who made the defensive play of the game earlier at first base with a line drive diving grab for an out, scored the fifth run for the Nationals to cut the lead to 6-5 in the sixth with two outs.
A pass ball then ensued paving the perfect lane for Simmons to score the tying run to make it six apiece.
The game looked like the seventh inning was going to happen after the National side was able to get two quick strikeouts before LB rallied.
A walk allowed the game-winning run to get on. Two pass balls later, the runner was at third base with the hitter of LB on a full count. The hit was fair down the middle as LB surprised the Nationals with a one-run victory.
Next year, the 12-year-old National All Stars are expecting to have a stronger outing according to coach Singh.
“They are all coming back next year as 12s so hopefully they come out ready to go,” Singh added.