The Rockies have won the Turlock National Little League title for the second straight season after shutting out the Dodgers in the finals, 8-0, on Saturday at Soderquist Field.
“It’s a great accomplishment for the kids, I am sure that they are well aware cause I didn’t want to put pressure on them,” Rockies head coach Doug Grande said. “They knew the situation, but I told them to keep doing what they have done to get there and play for each other as a team, and never quit on each other.”
In the first playoff game against the Nationals, the Rockies dominated 13-6. The next round they found themselves against the Dodgers and took them out 7-5 to move on to the finals against the Dodgers after they defeated the Marlins. The Rockies have racked up 28 runs in three playoff games, averaging over nine runs per game.
"I think we had a really good mix of returning starters that were the veteran leaders, mixed with some younger brothers that just got there, saw their older brothers and made them ready for the situation,” Grande said. “These younger kids really contributed.”
In the championship game, Garret Estrada drove in Andres Grande for the first run after an RBI single in the top of the first. In the third inning, Noah Baltizar led off with a single, followed by an Andres Grande single to put two runners on with no outs. Marino Cabero then hit an RBI single to put them up 2-0. Estrada then was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. After one out and the bases loaded, Ramon Grande blasted a two-run single and after a bad throw to third, Estrada scored the third run of the inning to put them up 5-0 by this point.
In the top of fourth inning, Andres Grande walked then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Cabero then hit a double and moved Grande to third; followed by an Estrada RBI sac-hit to scored Cabero for the sixth run. The final two runs were scored in the sixth, when Estrada belted two-run jack to put them up 8-0 driving in Grande in the process.
Estrada pitched a complete game shutout, walked one, struck out eight and allowed only three hits. He topped off the day with a 2-for-3 performance, four RBIs and a two run homer in the sixth.
Andres Grande was 3-for-3 with a walk. Ramon Grande 2-for-3, Cabero was 2-for-3 with a walk.
The Rockies will now face off against the American Little League champs in a city championship game on Saturday with a time yet to be announced.
“I think we can expect to see the best of our opponents, everyone wants to go beat the team that has won the championship — our case two. Everyone wants to go out and play well against the defending champs,” Grande said.