The Turlock American 11-year-old All Stars captured the District 73 title Thursday night from their home field, securing the sweep by the American side, joining the 10 and 12-year-old All Stars who won a banner of their own this year.
Turlock met Atwater once again, but this time for the finale and while it had the same outcome, the game was much closer than anticipated.
Momentum swung to both sides with a tied score for most of the game, until Rob York broke the tie with a clutch two-run double and the Americans held on for the 5-3 win.
“We needed this win as well. We needed a close win to see what they had in the tank and to see if we had the ability to come back,” said Turlock American head coach Bill York. “All Stars is such a special thing because they work all year and they are just happy to be on the team and we tell them to do their city right and they have done that.”
They did that and more, sweeping the tournament while going a perfect 4-0 in District play.
It also helped that the tournament was at home and that Sections will also be hosted at Julien.
But before that, they had to defeat Atwater and try to avoid a second game in the District finale, in what resulted in a game of cat and mouse for the most part.
Both sides went into the third inning with a tight score of 1-1 just before the tie was broken for the first time in the game.
Jordan Mikkelson hit an RBI single to go up 2-1 with no outs in the bottom of the third.
Kyle Parker followed with an RBI single hit of his own after a 0-1 count that he leveled past the third basemen, to go up 3-1.
The fourth was a scoreless inning and in the top of the fifth, Atwater shocked Turlock by tying it at 3-3.
“That is what we want to see, the best team on the other side to see if we can persevere and we did it,” said York. “The kids were amped up and they are pretty humble as well, they are excited about it and none of them were bragging about it, they just knew it was another game, very refreshing.”
The bottom half of the fifth resulted in what Turlock had hoped for when Rob York cracked a two out, two-run double for the go ahead to secure the 5-3 lead.
Dustin Newsome pitched a shutout inning in the sixth after, throwing 25 pitches and struck out one.
“Our pitchers were throwing strikes and battling, and a game of momentum, and they took as much as they could and I praise them as well, but we battled and the bottom of our lineup came through again,” said York.
The American side had only five hits, along with five walks and reached base on three errors.
“Hitting goes in streaks and we hit some balls hard, but they made some plays and our defense... I mean we didn't commit a single error for the entire District tournament,” said York. “Atwater did play well. Their pitcher did great.”
Next for the Turlock American squad is the opportunity to host the Section Tournament from Julien field against an opponent yet to be named at 7 p.m. July 15.
“We are built for offense and we have good defense with timely pitching, so I am expecting more of the same and it’s home field advantage, you can't go wrong with that.”