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Turlock National 12s eager for tournament play
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Nicholas Simmons who played for the D-Backs during the regular season is seen throwing the ball during practice for the Turlock National Little League All-Stars. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

The 2018 Little League District 73 All Stars will kick off this weekend from Julien Field and the Turlock National 12-year-olds are ready for the start after a strong turnout in last year’s tournament.

“We just want to move to the next level and I think we can rise to the challenge,” said National head coach Nick Paslay. “I have about 13 kids and nine of them can pitch, we are not going to be short on pitching just a matter of executing and getting things done.”

Last year, the National 12s reached the semifinal before falling to Atwater.

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Turlock National Little League 12-year-old All-Stars head coach Nick Paslay talks to his team during practice on Tuesday from the Pitman Pride JV baseball field. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

This was a tremendous run after losing their opening game and falling into the losers’ bracket.

Now coach Paslay, a Pitman High alum who also assisted the varsity baseball team this spring, is expecting a strong performance from his squad.

The team is also boasting the only girl on the team in Hailey Bacon.

Aside from Bacon, the team also welcomes in four players from the National major’s champions, the D-Backs.

Nicholas Simmons, Jorge Orozco, Justin Hack and Dominic Maldonado make up those D-Backs players on the roster for Paslay.

Salvador Alvarez, Lucas Blakemore, Aiden Lopes, Angel Morales, Kolten Pruitt, Diego Rosales, Aidan Sanchez and Alejandro Trujillo round out the rest of the squad.

Paslay coached the Giants during the regular season in the majors.

Just a season ago Paslay led the Giants to a 15-3 season before finishing in fifth place this year.

 “It’s always different every year when you get a new team, the dynamic, a lot come in young trying to do too much perhaps, but they take to each other well and worked hard and I know they are looking forward to the tournament.”

Paslay brings in just two players from his Giants squad.

The National side will open up tournament play from Julien Field against Mariposa at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

“In year’s past Turlock National usually takes the 12 best kids and unfortunately in year’s past we get a ton of shortstops, so that doesn’t exactly fill the team,” Paslay added. “I think this year we have done a good job about filling positions. Last year we didn’t have many outfielders and this year we have six, we have the best in their position, not having to learn a new position. This year we have that dynamic.”