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Rollercoaster start for Turlock American 12s at Sections
American 12s
Kaden Petersen of the Turlock American 12-year-olds hits a solo homer in Sunday's 10-6 win over Amador West. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

The Turlock American 12-year-old All-Stars got off to a rough start in the Section 6 tournament, battling Calaveras Little League in San Andreas.

The Americans, who traveled further than any other Turlock All-Star team this season, had a rugged beginning to their tourney after meeting the Delta All-Stars from Stockton who managed to pull off a win in a day where nothing seemed to go right for the Americans.

A 7-2 loss dropped the Americans into the loser's bracket in day one but since then, the 12s managed to win back-to-back elimination games.

“It's been a rollercoaster ride. The loss just snuck up on us and by the end of the game we were shell-shocked,” said American head coach Kurtis Carr. “And when we had a rally going, we got out of the inning and stranded runners and we didn't mount a comeback.”

The first win was over Amador West on Sunday after a 10-6 final, followed by a Monday 10-0 mercy-rule win over Tracy American.

“In the second game we came out tight after the loss since we are not used to being down and came out but we were fortunate to win,” said Carr. “Our second win, we got back to being loose and having fun and enjoying the moment and (Monday) was typical of what we've been playing.”

In Saturday's first game, the 12s fell down early, 5-0, after Delta blasted two homers to start things off.

From there on, the American side was battling from behind.

“Every time we had a rally going, we hit into a double play,” said Carr of the first game. “Double plays are rare in Little League and we hit into four of the in one game, they just killed our momentum. The other team showed up ready to play and they played defensively and made plays that they needed to.”

After a fluky game, the Americans, who had shown their tremendous power in the District tourney, were held to just two lone runs.

“Our hitters never made adjustments to the zone. We had seven strikeouts looking which isn't our brand of baseball,” said Carr.

The team came right back in an elimination game against Amador West on Sunday and after falling down 3-0 after the first, this time the team managed to overcome the early deficit and fight back to win it.

Two runs were tacked on in the second inning after a two-run homer by Griffen Sotomayor, which was followed by a big third inning when the team struck five runs that were highlighted by solo homers from Cooper Carr and Kaden Petersen followed by a three-run shot from Sotomayor.

Amador West answered back with a three-run shot to make it 7-6 after the third.

The score didn't change until the fifth when Zach Mayol hit a two-run bomb to extend the Americans' lead to 9-6. The final run was scored in the sixth to complete the inning.

Mayol started that game and pitched three innings, followed by two scoreless innings from Julian Espinoza and Dylan Fuller, who shut the door for the last two outs of the sixth inning.

On Monday, the Americans were backed by Boston Souza's start after he pitched a complete game that went just four innings, allowing just four singles with no walks and struck out 10.

Mayol started off the rally with a homer in the second inning, followed by RBI singles from Aidan Askil and Dylan Fuller.

The Americans broke the game wide open in the third with an RBI single from Mayol, Sotomayor and Will York, which was concluded by a three-run shot from Askil.

“It was something we talked about, we wanted to be more relaxed and putting together good at bats but putting some fun back into the game,” Carr added. “When the kids aren't having fun it's when they put too much pressure on themselves and that's tough so we want to be loose to get the best performance.”