After a first round bye, the Turlock National Little League Majors champion Rockies dominated the Mariposa Reds, 13-1, at Soderquist field on Thursday to advance to the championship game of the Tournament of Champions.
“Tonight we proved that we are legitimate champions and deserve to be at this game,” Rockies coach Rudy Estrada said.
The Rockies have won 17 of their last 18 games played and also produced 12 hits for the game and walked five times.
Seven of the team's hits, and six of the runs scored came from Garret Estrada and Marino Cabero's tremendous at-bats, as they hit a combined 7-for-9 with six RBIs for the game and each had a home run.
Estrada broke the ice early in the top of the third with a solo homerun that put the first run on the board and the Rockies took the early 1-0 lead. However, in the bottom half, Mike Medinas of the Reds returned the favor with a solo homer of his own to tie the ball game by the end of the third. This would be Mariposa’s only run of the ball game.
After two red hot back-to-back innings in the fifth and sixth that saw two homeruns, the Rockies put up 12 unanswered runs, five in the fifth and seven in the sixth, to seal the deal and the victory.
“We just started getting hot and it caused a chain reaction because everybody wanted to hit after seeing their teammates hit; it was contagious,” Estrada said.
Estrada started the game for the Rockies and his tremendous pitching shut out the Reds offense after allowing the homerun. He tossed 5 1/3 innings, struck out 11 and allowed only one run and two walks. Cabero closed the game, pitching 2/3 innings, striking out two to end it.
“He has been our work horse all year. We asked him to throw a lot of innings and he pitched a heck of a game and great performance,” coach Estrada said about Garret. “He located his pitches well and when Mariposa got runners on he was able to shut them out quick. On the mound he was seeing the ball well after the homerun. He is one of the run producers of the team as well.”
For the season, the Rockies’ Cabero already has 14 homeruns while Estrada topped at nine after Thursday's game — an unbelievable statistic for the age group.
After defeating the Reds of Mariposa, the Rockies will now face off against Yosemite at 7 p.m. today at Julien field for the Tournament of Champions championship game.
“We know it’s for the championship, and we will be ready to play. Having a win like this two days before the big game is huge for us, our confidence level will be very high and we know we can hit any pitcher in the area,” Estrada said.