The Turlock National Little League Minors Champions are Turlock’s best after they topped the American League’s Bandits in the City Championship on Monday afternoon from Julien Field.
The game was a back and forth contest, and in the end a hit-by-pitch allowed the winning run to cross home as the game ended in a walk-off at 6-5.
“Our kids wanted to do well because we told them that the American League has beaten the National League past few years, so it was going to be a big feather in our hat if we pulled this off,” said Redwings head coach Jeff Anderson. “So, they came in wanting to win, struggled a bit in the middle, but they came back and did what they needed to do.”
“We made huge strides, we really worked hard and had a lot of kids with good attitude, which is the big thing,” said Bandits head coach Jeff Peterson. “They played as a team and ended up making it here and today they [the Redwings] were the better team. But I tell my kids to go out there and have fun most importantly and give it 100 percent.”
The Redwings went up early, taking a 3-1 lead into the third inning.
Brayden Hart of the Bandits then cracked an RBI double to center field to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Multiple passed balls later and some timely base running allowed two more runs to cross home plate and the Bandits went up 4-3 heading into the bottom of the third.
The lead didn’t last long, however.
The Redwings tied it in the bottom of the third after Kingston De Leon hit an inside the park home-run and the score read 4-4.
The Bandits immediately tacked on another run in the top of the fourth to take the lead once more at 5-4 after RJ Alacantar scored.
In the bottom of the fifth the Redwings tied it at 5-5 when they got a run scored on a bases loaded walk.
De Leon then tossed three up and three down in the top of the sixth, with two strikeouts. He finished the game with 85 pitches.
Landyn Cupit of the Redwings scored the game winning run after Hunter Greunke was hit-by-pitch with bases loaded to make it 6-5.
“At the end of the day it didn’t work out, but that is okay,” said Peterson. “Still a great game. Now we start Tournament of Champions, so there is a good possibility we play them again. Got teams from Delhi, Ceres, Modesto and Los Banos and Turlock National, so it will be fun.”
“We ended up 12-2 during the regular season and we lost our first game and then lost our last game and won everything in between,” said Anderson. “But all in all, they made a lot of improvement over the year and they really came a long way and you don’t see that often. I saw improvement in every kid; it’s been nice.”The Tournament of Champions is slated to take place from Soderquist Park. The Bandits will take on Yosemite at 3 p.m. Saturday.
The Redwings will take on an opponent yet to be determined from Soderquist at noon Sunday.
“I was lucky enough to assist this team last year and won our league championship last year and reached City title game, but Turlock American beat us badly, so it was great to be able to come back and win it,” said Anderson.
“There’s a lot of good teams this year,” Peterson added.