The Turlock National Little League’s 11-year-old All-Stars saw their season come to a close in the District 73 Tournament from Coarsegold following back-to-back losses in the Championship game at the hands of the eventual champs — Atwater.
They followed up their 8-6 upset win over Turlock American by dropping back-to-back games in consecutive days, starting on Wednesday and ending Thursday in a 15-0 final.
“I just felt like coming in, we were the best team and in the first two games we played it was evident,” said National head coach Jeramie Helwick. “For some reason they were not on the same page, but they are 11; I get it, it happens.”
Despite their 15-0 loss on Thursday, things looked okay prior to that and they even almost clinched the title on Wednesday.
In Wednesday’s game, both Atwater and the National side battled in what ended up being one of the closest games, ending by a single run difference.
Unfortunately, it was the National side that saw the 3-2 loss.
In that game, the score was 0-0 through the first three innings.
It wasn’t until the fourth inning when Turlock National tacked on two runs to take a 2-0 lead.
“I thought that was going to be enough with the squad we have,” said Helwick.
Angel Castro started for Turlock and JJ Gutierrez came in to relieve in the fifth inning.
With National up 2-0 in the fourth, Atwater scored their first run after a passed ball gave them the chance to cut the lead to 2-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, an unfortunate mistake happened, Atwater capitalized on it and put two runners on at first and third with one out.
From there a two-run single followed and the score read 3-2 Atwater.
It was the second time in three games that both had played in a one-run contest.
Prior to that, they had played in a 1-0 game.
The loss forced a winner take all game on Thursday.
“I felt confident going in, I felt we were going to show up,” said Helwick. “I didn’t think we would do what we did…literally every ball took a bad hop, and you can’t control those things, just random. Once that happened, they started pressing and it snowballed…Huge mistakes that any other game would have been easy outs.”
In the game on Thursday, all went wrong as they allowed 15 runs in four innings.
Following the loss, Turlock National are 1-2 against Atwater for the tournament. They beat Atwater 1-0 last Sunday.
They close the tournament with a record of 2-2.
Turlock National pitched two on Wednesday and three on Thursday.
Atwater dropped to the consolation bracket and made a comeback, winning four straights after losing just one.