The All-Star summer season came to a close for the Turlock American Little League 11-year-olds on Sunday afternoon from the Moss Landing Park in Lathrop after losing in back-to-back games.
Despite the effort, it didn’t end without some great things and positives that have head coach Eric Hart and his staff eager and hungry for next year—along with the squad.
“What is great about these kids is they turned the page and are ready for next year,” said Hart. “I felt in that second game, I don’t think they were scared about losing, players were ready to play and positive attitude and kids were eager to get on to the field.”
On Saturday they battled with the Division 8 winners Morada.
Unfortunately, the game ended in a close game after just a total of three runs scored through five innings.
Joe Farinha started on the mound for Turlock.
“He pitched really well,” said Hart. “The other team was just a little better than us in that day.”
Down 2-1 heading into the top of the sixth, that is when the wheels fell off, unfortunately.
Turlock was outscored in the sixth alone 2-1 to end it at 4-2.
“We had runners on but never had the big hit to drive in the run,” said Hart. “Their pitcher pitched really well and kept us off balance. He threw well and came back after being a little wild, effective wild, so threw hard enough to get past us. I think we only had two hits, infield single in the first and single in the sixth, we couldn’t get anything going against him.”
They followed up in the loser’s bracket by taking on Division 67 winners Northgate less than 20 hours later.
However, Sunday’s game became another game of stranded base runners for Turlock.
They left a total of 12 base runners stranded.
“We made some mistakes that cost us and no timely hitting,” said Hart. “A lot of base runners left on base and didn’t get key hit when we needed it.”
Josh Ramirez started on the mound for Turlock in Sunday’s game and was strong.
He also went 3-for-3 from the plate.
“Unfortunately, we made some miscues on defense behind him that allowed the other team to score some runs,” said Hart. “We had multiple opportunities to score but couldn't get the key hits to drive in the runs.”
Turlock went up 1-0 after loading the bases in the first inning.
“That hurt us having bases loaded twice and hit in two double plays to end the inning twice,” said Hart. “They scored in second to go up 2-1, with defensive miscues and went up for good, and never tied it up again.”
Ramirez had a two-run single that cut the lead to 5-3 in the fourth inning, but that is as close as Turlock reached from mounting a possible comeback to end it at 6-3.
“I told them I was proud of them and I could see the disappointment in their faces and over the next few months and next year I told them to get better hitting wise,” said Hart. “You have two of the three categories, great pitchers and great defense and now we need the third part the hitting part and I told the kids to work on their hitting until LL starts in January again.”
Last year, as 10s, they finished in fourth place in state while this year they miss out on the Nor-Cal/State Tournament.
“I told them this was a good learning experience on what we need to work on over the next year as a team,” Hart added. “Players and coaches all agreed that our pitching was great and our defense was good but as a team we need to improve our hitting to make a strong run for next year as 12-year-olds.”