After a historical run for the Turlock American 12-year-old All-Stars, which included both a District and Section title, the magic has run out after losing in the Nor-Cal Divisional tournament this past weekend in San Jose.
Two straight losses for the Turlock squad led to the end of their great season. In both games the Turlock squad allowed 10 runs each, losing 10-5 against Woodcreek in the opener and dropping the second game in the losers bracket, 10-3, against River Park American.
“It’s a special group,” said Turlock head coach Phil Govea. “These kids have played pretty consistent with high quality baseball for three years, and that speaks a lot about our kids winning different age groups.”
Although most of these young athletes' Little League careers might be finished, their history will live on as they will be remembered as the only age group to accomplish three section and three district titles in three different age groups.
“We can’t think of any previous Turlock team to do three peat in section and district titles,” said Govea. “It says a lot about our kids to be able to battle and to win games and win district and sections year in and year out.”
In the first game on Saturday against Woodcreek, Matthew Livingston started the game and went three innings.
The Turlock 12s took a quick 4-1 lead going into the third, but Woodcreek answered back with five runs in the top of the third to go up 6-4.
The score depleted the offense and any opportunity of a comeback and before the Turlock boys knew what happened, the score and momentum had shifted to Woodcreek as they held on to the victory, winning by five, 10-5.
“We knew Woodcreek was a good team and it would be a tough challenge,” Govea said. “Just couldn’t stop their offensive attack.”
With the loss, Turlock dropped into the losers bracket where they faced River Park American in an elimination game that was win or go home.
Turlock lost their final game of the season by seven runs after a very slow start from the team.
Andy Owen started the game for Turlock, but would give up five runs to go down 5-0 heading into the fourth.
Before Turlock was aware of what was going on, River Park had topped their lead to 8-1 going into the top of the fifth.
“We had their hitters getting to our pitching and we thought the strike zone was pretty tight,” said Govea.
Heading into the bottom of the sixth the score read 10-3, but that would be it for Turlock as the River Park squad shut down the local boys in the final inning to secure their win.
“In Sunday’s game our offense didn’t get going till later in the game and a lot of it had to do with outstanding pitching just like Woodcreek,” Govea said. “They threw hard and threw curves for strikes. Our bats and offense were kept in check for first several innings. These kids are great, it was an honor coaching them.”