The Turlock American All-Stars started and ended their Section 6 Championship run with close games against the Manteca All-Stars of District 67. Turlock American squeaked by Manteca on July 14, earning a 17-16 win in the ninth inning, and won a war of attrition on Tuesday, claiming their second tournament championship by a score of 6-4.
“We controlled the pitching; that was the key,” Turlock American’s head coach Nathan Mirza said.
Turlock scored first when Luca Curtis provided his team with a run in the first inning, but by the bottom of the fourth inning Manteca led 4-1. Manteca’s runs came in the top of the second and fourth innings off the bat of the same player who hit two two-run home runs.
Case Pacheco responded in the bottom of the fourth inning with a two-run homerun of his own, cutting Manteca’s lead by one and giving Turlock a comeback opportunity. After his homer, Pacheco held off Manteca from the hill, paving the way for a three-run fifth inning and the lead. Garrett Fountain relieved Pacheco in the sixth inning to close out the game and secure the win.
“They upped their momentum and came through with the bats,” Mirza said. “They just played baseball and scored runs the old fashioned way.”
With the District 78 and Section 6 Championships under their belts, the Turlock American All-Stars are now headed to Watsonville for Saturday’s Northern California State Divisions Tournament.
“They’re ready for the next level,” Mirza said. “As long as we can swing our bats and control the game, we should have a good chance.”