The American Little League majors champion Tigers defeated the National League champion Rockies 11-1 on Saturday at Julien Field for the Turlock Little League City Title.
“It was an emotional day, these guys worked so hard for it, seeing the look on their faces is priceless,” Tigers head coach Leon Curtis said. “We played a great team in the Rockies and we knew it was not going to be handed to us and they responded well. I am so thrilled for them and the coaching staff for all the hard work. It really paid off.”
The champion Tigers topped off their season having won 16 of their final 18 games. The offense has been potent all year especially in the playoffs. In the past three games, including the American League Championship series, the Tigers accumulated over 45 runs, averaging 15 runs per game in that span.
Justin Hines of the Tigers allowed one run in the first inning and then tossed four shutout innings and struck out 12 batters en route to a complete 10-run rule ball game for his squad. Offensively, he batted 3-for-3 with two runs. Luke Curtis went 3-for-4 and scored three runs.
“We talk about it often with a team, it was one of the few times we get a pitcher to go out and complete a game. It is never a one man show, we don’t rely on one person. It is a team effort,” Curtis said.
Noah Baltizar of the Rockies led off the game with a single. He would eventually score the only run for his squad in the ball game when Marino Cabero hit an RBI single to drive him in. Baltizar went 3-for-3 for the game in the leadoff spot.
“I am very proud of the boys' level of play throughout the entire season,” Rockies head coach Doug Grande said. “It’s a great accomplishment to make it here for these boys, they should not take it for granted since not too many kids get this opportunity to make it to a city title game in their Little League career. Always remember it.”
Immediately following the bottom half of the inning, Tigers’ Markie Delgadillo hit a fielder’s choice that drove in Luke Curtis to make it one apiece. Ten unanswered runs would then follow from the Tigers' red hot offense beginning in the bottom of the third when Justin Hines hit an RBI single to score Curtis. Hines would then score on a pickle between third and home plate, followed by a Silas Fredeen RBI single to score Delgadillo and put the Tigers up 4-1.
In the fourth, Rios Rogers led off with a perfect bunt down the third base line and outran the throw by a large margin. Anthony Tullio then hit a single to put two runners on. Curtis followed with an RBI double that drove in Rogers. Hines then slammed a two-run single to score Curtis and Tullio to put the Tigers up 7-1. Jordan Jimenez hit an RBI single to score Hines for the eighth run. Fredeen finished the fourth with an RBI double to score Jimenez to extend the lead—and make it 9-1. The last two runs were scored in the bottom of the fifth after Luke Curtis hit a walk off two-run double to score Rios and Tullio and secure the city title.