The 2017 Turlock American Little League 10-year-old All Stars have set a high bar for future teams after finishing with the highest outing in program history this past week in the Nor Cal State Tournament.
“We were 4th out of 255 teams from Bakersfield to the Oregon border,” said Turlock head coach Todd Feldman. “Also, this is the furthest any 10-year-old All Star team from Turlock American has ever made it.”
Turlock battled with Lafayette out of the Bay Area in Tuesday's game and came out with a 9-6 victory only to meet Maidu for a second time on Wednesday night.
Unfortunately, that game didn't end the way their first one did, but it was close. With a one-run discrepancy, Turlock was able to fend off Maidu for the closing three innings, but failed to put up enough runs in a tight 3-2 loss.
“Both teams played great ball in that one,” said Feldman. “We are just so happy with this accomplishment. The tournament director said it was the best game that has seen played. It was a flawless game, we brought our 'A' game and they did too and the difference was a bounce.”
However, to get there Turlock needed to get through a tough Lafayette squad that had a bad night on Tuesday.
Turlock added three runs in the top of the third inning to take an early 3-0 lead that was highlighted by a Seth Salabor two-run double.
Lafayette tied it at 3-3 in the bottom half before Turlock went off in the fourth.
Turlock went on a six-run rally in the top of the fourth that gave the team a 9-6 lead anchored by Max Mankins' base clearing shot.
Joe Farinha started on the mound and went five innings.
Turlock also left bases loaded in the top of the sixth, however, pitcher Salabor tossed a 10-pitch inning in the bottom of the sixth to close it out and capture the win.
The win set up the win or go home battle for Turlock with Maidu.
“It was a battle till the end, but we lost; however, both sides played their best game,” said Feldman. “All runs were earned.”
Turlock took the early momentum in the top of the first inning after a two-run double from Dutch Lawrence to go up 2-0.
Maidu scored a run in the bottom half and added two more runs in the bottom of the third, after drilling three straight doubles to go up 3-2.
Turlock nearly tied the game in the sixth after getting a runner at third base with two outs, only to get a close groundout to end the game.
“The ball hits up the middle and it goes off the base and into the shortstop's glove, who made a great play, but the ball goes off an inch maybe something else happens, maybe we tie it,” said Feldman. “That was close. We never got 10-run ruled, we fought every game or whooped people, we played great baseball I thought.”
Lawrence pitched 4 and 2/3 innings, then Salabor pitched the final 1/3 inning.