The 11-year-old Turlock American All-Stars helped themselves to a plate of vengeance and victory this past weekend, defeating the Los Banos American All-Stars in a two-game series to claim the District 73 Little League All-Star Championship.
“When they beat us earlier in the tournament we were really flat and over confident,” American head coach Nathan Mirza said. “We all agreed we weren’t going to let that happen again.”
Los Banos’ 11-1 victory in the second round of the District 73 Tournament knocked the Turlock American All-Stars into the losers’ bracket where they had to overcome the Turlock National All-Stars for a shot at the championship. After defeating their local rivals, Turlock American took on Los Banos on Saturday and pulled out the win, 8-7.
Sunday’s game would not be as close.
“We came out of the first game knowing we had the upper hand,” Mirza said. “Our team came into the game really pumped.”
Turlock American opened Sunday’s game with four runs in both the first and second innings. Smart base running from Antonio Reyes and big hits from Ernesto Ramirez, Lucas Curtis and Case Pacheco led Turlock American’s offense against a Los Banos defense that was unprepared for such an onslaught.
Pacheco also anchored his team’s defense, throwing 82 pitches from the hill and allowing only two hits in five innings. Los Banos American scored their first and only run in the fourth inning and watched as the game was called in the fifth, 11-1.
“We felt we were the better team coming into the weekend but, given the first loss, we felt we had something to prove,” Mirza said.
The newly crowned District 73 Champions will now face the District 67 Champions on Saturday in Stockton in the Little League Sectional Tournament. The game begins at 10 a.m.