The Rivercats from the Turlock American Little League Minors will now face off against Atwater in the final game of the Tournament of Champions, after defeating the Los Banos A’s, 8-4, on Thursday at Los Banos.
“They don’t want it to end; they love playing baseball,” Rivercats head coach Corey Rodriguez said.
On Tuesday, the Turlock Minors champion Rivercats dominated the Yosemite Astros in their first game of the tournament, 13-2. Nick Criscione pitched three innings, gave up no hits, struck out six and allowed no runs. Kaden Petersen pitched the fourth and final inning. The game was over in the 4th inning due to the 10-run rule. Nick Criscione went 2-for-3 with a double and 3 RBIs. Dominic Rodriguez was 3-for-3 with two doubles, a triple and 6 RBIs.
Zach Mayol started Thursday's semi-final game against Los Banos and tossed 1 1/3 innings. Adan Gutierrez came in the second inning to relieve Mayol with one out and tossed the next two innings. In the fourth with one out, Dominic Rodriguez came in and shutout the A’s pitching with 2 2/3 innings to close the game.
Again, leading the way offensively, was Mayol who went 2-for-2, with a triple. Dominic Rodriguez was 1-for-2 with a triple and 2 RBIs. Logan Bankson was 2-for-2 with an RBI. Jack Gilfilan hit 2-for-2 and Jason Whitehead was 1-for-2. The team's overall record now stands at 18-1.
On Thursday, the ‘Cats scored three runs in the first inning with Mayol hitting an RBI triple to score the first run. Dominic Rodriguez scored Mayol from third to make it 3-0. Los Banos then scored four runs in the top of the 2nd to make it 4-3. The Rivercats scored five unanswered runs beginning in the bottom of the third when Mayol led off with a single and Dominic Rodriguez hit an RBI triple to tie it at four apiece. With two outs, Bankson hit an RBI single to score Dominic Rodriguez, making it 5-4. Gilfilan hit an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth. In the bottom of the fifth, Cole Hendrix hit an RBI single to drive in Bankson followed by Gilfilan scoring Cole on an RBI double for the eighth run of the semi-final matchup.
“All together they are playing their best baseball now. Throughout the whole year, these are the best two games and all played well as a team,” Rodriguez said. “Today [Thursday] was probably the true definition of a team win. It took a little bit of everyone to win and everyone battled hard all game; one of those games.”
The Rivercats now move on to the championship game of the Tournament of Champions and will be facing off against Atwater at 4:30 p.m. today at Julien field.
“Just to come out and compete, they are all super excited. They want to win another trophy and are looking forward to it,” Rodriguez said.