The summer season of 2019 is sure to be one that the members of the Turlock American Little League 12-year-old All-Stars team will never forget after they earned both a District 73 and Section 6 championship.
However, their successful season came to a close last weekend in Hayward following back to back losses at the Nor Cal State tournament when they fell to Santa Clara Little League on Saturday, then to San Mateo on Sunday in the elimination contest.
“They went a long way, pretty impressive how they got through both tournaments,” said Turlock head coach Mike Lawrence. “It’s impressive for any Little League team, can't take anything away from them. They were sad to be done, sad not to look at the next game, but we focused on all the accomplishments and how they got there and the heart and soul of the team.”
All 13 players were a huge asset in their tournament run and helped the team go 6-0 in District and Sections.
The team consisted of Jadon Boyer, Joe Farinha, Vincent Gonzales, Lincoln Hart, Dutch Lawrence, Will Magni, Max Mankins, Kaeden Patterson, Josh Ramirez, Jaron Rocha, Xavier Ruezga, Seth Salabor and Garrett Shamgochian.
“We told the kids that everyone who participated in this, the family, parents and everybody, they could not have done better or represented any better,” said Lawrence. “We are looking forward to keeping our eyes on a lot of these kids, because some may pursue baseball and they are capable of that, so should be fun to see them continue to succeed. Baseball wise, I have not seen this type of program in any city, and it comes from all the volunteers and everyone in the District and Section level, they let us know, they are 100 percent behind us, everyone is in it for the kids and that feels real good.”
Turlock started off well at the State tournament on Saturday, notching two quick runs in the top of the first, before Santa Clara Little League came back with seven runs in the bottom half and took a 7-2 lead.
From there Turlock played catch-up and, despite four errors from the opposition, they got outscored 4-2 in the final four innings to end it 11-4.
“On Saturday, our team wasn’t bringing it and they were a little nervous going into that game,” said Lawrence. “We had a day of reckoning and it was our own undoing. Big thing we learned being at this level is everyone is 12 years old and competitive. Looking at this game, no point we couldn't come back. Could’ve gone either way but just didn't go our boys’ way.”
They bounced back with a contest on Sunday and nearly came out on top despite an unfortunate play that cost them some unearned runs.
There were five innings of scoreless baseball before any runs were tacked on in Sunday’s game.
There was just a total of eight hits for both sides in the game through six innings.
“In the second game they got excited and the contest became a battle of pitching,” said Lawrence. “And a fluke, the ball hit the third base, and that decided the game.”
In the top of the sixth inning the ball bounced from third base and ricochet off in a weird angle, allowing the runs to cross home plate.
“We never came back from it, but it was two ace pitchers throwing off and impressive to watch,” said Lawrence.
Joe Farinha and Vincent Gonzales both pitched six innings.
Turlock was held scoreless in the bottom of the sixth as the game ended 2-0, eliminating them from the tournament.
“No dominant team, just good teams playing against good teams,” Lawrence added.