The Turlock 12-year-old American All-Stars fell short of their Section 6 championship dreams on Tuesday to the Sunrise All-Stars, 7-8, in Stockton.
But the dream's not dead, with the best of two series, they have the opportunity to claim it today in a win or go home game.
“We had over nine strikeouts, and Sunrise capitalized on our errors and we didn’t take opportunities that were there and it happens sometimes,” Turlock American head coach Leon Curtis said. “But [for today's game] I really like our chances. Hopefully, we show up since we got the pitching available. We've got to do it the hard way.”
Sunrise got out to a 2-0 lead and the Americans tied it 2-2 after the first inning. Despite the American squad struggling on both sides of the ball and not hitting their spots when needed, they also committed costly errors and walks that would eventually lead to the loss.
“They took advantage and hit the ball at the right time, followed by mistakes. I told the kids we will get another chance tomorrow, sometimes it works for you and sometimes it doesn’t,” Curtis said.
During the first game of the Section 6 tournament on Saturday, the Turlock Americans defeated Sunrise 10-3.
Sunrise jumped to a 2-0 lead going into the second. In the top of the second, Justin Hines’ RBI single drove in Cameron Sherwood to make it 2-1. In the top of the fourth, Tyler Gil and Garza scored after back-to-back errors from sunrise to take the 3-2 lead. Five more runs were tacked on the following inning after Case Pacheco hit a three-run shot to center field to score Joe Romeo and Luke Curtis.
Sunrise's final run came on an error in the bottom of the fifth to make it 8-3 by this point. Luke Curtis’ two-run shot secured the Americans 10-3 victory.
Joe Romeo threw 65 pitches, struck out nine, and allowed only one hit in 4 1/3 innings of work. Cameron Sherwood, struck out two and gave up one hit, no runs in 1 1/3 innings of relief. Clayton Souza came in the sixth to face one batter and struck him out to end the game.
With no rest, the American squad played on Sunday and defeated Manteca, 4-1, in a rematch from last year’s 15-3 deficit.
“It was rough having no day's rest,” Curtis said.
Cody Curry started the game for the American side and was pulled after 44 pitches; he went 3 1/3 shutout innings. Souza relieved Curry and tossed up 3 2/3 innings, striking out four in the final two innings.
“Both threw under 50 pitches. At this level, pitching and defense needs to be solid, they have been great,” Curtis said. “Pitching and defense is key, these teams will capitalize on them. The nice thing is we have about five quality starters. And we haven’t even used five pitchers.”
In the bottom of first with two outs, Joe Romeo came in to slam a solo home run. Case Pacheco followed with a solo home-run of his own to make it 2-0. In the bottom of the third, Joe Romeo led off with a solo home-run for the third run. Luke Curtis’ scored the fourth and final run on a wild pitch in the fifth inning.
Next, the 12-year-old American All-Stars will play at 5:30 p.m. today at the Western Little League in Stockton for the Section 6 Tournament Championship and the opportunity to advance to state.