Looking back, the Little Leaguers are glad they experienced the loss.
The Turlock American Junior All-Stars were behind by five runs and it looked like they had no shot of coming back or, at the very least, give the crowd at Pedretti Park some late-game excitement on Thursday night.
But Turlock Americans had a no-quit attitude, evident by the fact that they had the tying run on second base in an eventual 7-6 loss to the Los Banos Nationals in the District 10 tournament openers for both teams. It wasn’t until Turlock American’s final batter struck out that the visiting crowd offered a sigh of relief.
“If we had another inning,” said Turlock American Austin Taylor, “we could have taken the win.”
Down 7-2, the Turlock Americans finished up the bottom of the seventh inning with four runs on two hits and one error. The biggest hit was Chandler Callaway’s single to right field that sent in Connor Gallegos and Brandon Booze. Also, CJ Ferguson scored from third base on a wild pitch, and Taylor sent in Chad Pette on a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
But Turlock American’s final batter struck out with Callaway on second.
One word: heartbreaker.
The Turlock Americans believe they will redeem themselves. Their next game is against a familiar foe in the Turlock Nationals, with the match set on Tuesday night at likely Pedretti Park, though, at press time, the time was not yet determined.
“In this All-Stars,” Turlock American manager Lance Justus said, “you only get two losses and you’re out. Sometimes a loss right from the start can make a team stronger and desperate for a win.”
On Thursday, the Los Banos Nationals claimed the lead in the opening inning after they scored two runs on four consecutive hits for a 2-0 lead. The Turlock Americans responded with a walk-in run before Brett Hayner’s RBI single to make it a 3-2 deficit after two innings.
Los Banos continued to surge and owned a 7-2 lead after the sixth.
Turlock American carried that no-quit attitude that created a late-game rally, one that they hope to continue to their next District 10 tournament game.
“You just have to keep going,” Justus said. “You don’t give up.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.