The Turlock American 12-year-old All-Stars leaped into the Section finale after winning two straight contests this past weekend against Amador West and Hoover Tyler at Soderquist Park.
Saturday’s game against Amador West was a lopsided win for Turlock, who were able to win the bout by a score of 7-0.
In the semifinal against Hoover Tyler, the Turlock American squad jumped out to a 10-0 lead after a smoking hot fourth inning. However, Hoover rallied back and the score ended 11-7 in favor of Turlock.
“These kids compete. Offensively, they had great production in every game, because sometimes we struggle out on the field but our offense carried us,” said Turlock American head coach Phil Govea. “The kids are hard workers, and all that hard work has paid off, they have all been consistent, we're hitting it hard and often and that makes coaching and pitching decisions easier overall with great pitching in all games.”
The first contest against Amador on Saturday was a pitching seminar for Turlock, who managed to get six strong innings from Andy Owen, Silas Fredeen and Jake Abrams.
Owen started and tallied three innings of work before hitting the 50 pitch mark and getting subbed out.
Abrams and Fredeen finished their relief duties with 20 pitches each, making them available to start in the finale.
Ryan Leonesio’s three-run homer in the third inning created the separation needed for the Turlock American side to take on a comfortable 6-0 lead for the remainder of the game.
In Sunday’s game against Hoover, the score was 0-0 after the first two innings, but then a run was added by Turlock in the third followed by a nine-run fourth that put Turlock up 10-0 — which included three homeruns.
Jonathon Neal hit a three-run homer, Matthew Livingston lifted a two-run homer and Tony Modica batted a deep solo shot in the fourth.
Turlock scored over 10 runs in both section playoff games.
“It got interesting after that,” Govea said. “We were looking to end the game with a 10-run rule but they kept fighting.”
After Hoover scored a run in the bottom of the fourth to make it 10-1, Owen followed with a solo homer to go up by 10 once again to make it 11-1. But Hoover wasn't done, adding six unanswered runs heading into the bottom of the sixth.
Fredeen took care of the pitching duties at the end and was able to get the final out with bases loaded to finish the game with a victory for Turlock. Livingston started and finished the game after tossing four innings.
“With bases loaded, one pitch almost tied the game, but we got the final out it was just a cliffhanger at the end,” said Govea.
The final is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. today at Soderquist field against an opponent yet to be named.