The trifecta was completed on Monday afternoon from Julien Field when the Turlock American Little League 10-year-old All-Stars defeated their crosstown rivals, the Turlock Nationals, to capture the District 73 banner, securing the sweep for the Americans after they notched the title for the 12s in late June and the 11s earlier in the day.
The game kicked off with the Americans struggling to tack on runs early on and went down 5-1, but then it took just one inning rally in the fifth to bolster enough runs to secure the 9-5 win.
“I think overall it was just great for Turlock to have both teams in it, tells a lot about our community and the type of young baseball players we have,” said American head coach Andy Walker. “So, it was good for everybody. We obviously didn’t start the game the way we wanted to but we told them that it doesn’t mean we have to finish like that.”
“I told my kids don’t be upset and hang in there and not give up so it is what it is,” said National head coach Harpreet Thind. “I am actually happy we made it with all these things happening and credit to my coaches as well Kekoa Souza and Nick Paslay, very grateful for them as well.”
Thind’s National squad took a different road to the finale that saw them play five games in five days.
“We ended up losing the first game to a good team in Turlock American,” said Thind.
In that game, the American team took the victory in a close 4-1 final.
“They fought hard and good job to them and credit, and hopefully we were able to come back and battle in the finals,” said Thind.
Following the first-round loss, the National team won three games in three days prior to Monday’s final.
“We had to think quick, using all the pitchers, came through and fought hard,” said Thind.
The American side followed Thursday’s 4-1 win with a Saturday victory over Atwater that ended 10-2.
Monday’s Championship game was a hard-fought battle.
The National squad went up by the top of the third inning, leading 3-1 after taking advantage of great base running.
National starting pitcher Jackson Way held the American side to just a single run in four innings pitched with 72 pitches.
“Jackson Way pitched really well, but unfortunately it fell apart from there after we made the switch, and we had miscues, but things happen and it’s part of the game,” said Thind. “All the credit in the world to Turlock American for hanging in there.”
Once Way came out in the bottom of the fifth, the floodgates opened.
The American squad went on a tear, scoring eight runs by various ways to secure their rally.
“The fact that they were able to take that and turn it around it showed a lot of character and heart,” said Walker. “A lot of resilience and I’m proud of how they answered back. They are 10 [years old], they are young and you don’t know what you are going to get at that age level, but the way they battled back was impressive.”
American pitchers Vincent Perry and Cooper Pacheco closed out the final 1 and ⅓ innings, shutting out the opposition.
The Americans will next square off with the District 15 winners from Howard Park in Ione, at noon Saturday.
“Obviously, we will take a win any way we can take it,” Walker added. “I just hope we go out and compete. I hope we represent Turlock Little League well, which I think we will, but we will see what we got, great group of kids that work hard, we will see what happens.”