Lulu’s Rangers faced a familiar foe during Tuesday’s American Little League Championship game, the Tigers. After defeating the Tigers in the first round of this year’s playoff tournament, the Rangers put in a repeat performance, winning 10-4 and earning a spot in the Turlock Little League City Championship game on Saturday.
The Rangers got out to a slow start as they struggled to produce at the plate, giving up an early lead to the Tigers in the bottom of the second inning. A pair of Tiger errors put the Rangers back in the game, however, as they scored two runs in the third inning to take the lead. They wouldn’t give it up.
“We had some strong pitching and we hit the ball when we needed to,” Rangers head coach Nathan Mirza said.
Pitcher Cody Curry kept the Tigers off the scoreboard for the remainder of his time on the mound, giving his team ample opportunities to take advantage on offense. During his five and a half innings of play, Curry threw 86 pitches.
With their defensive game on lock, the Rangers’ offense began to heat up in the fifth inning. Weston Berger led off the inning with a base hit and was followed by a Mike Mirza double and a Dustin Grime double off the fence with the bases loaded, giving the Rangers a four point lead. The scoring continued in the sixth inning with a Dominic Silva solo home run in what ended up being another four run inning.
Tiger Clay Abrams hit a double of his own with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Tigers failed to close the gap, losing out on a spot in Saturday’s Championship game.
“We’re pretty confident going to the city championship with an undefeated record,” Mirza said. “If our pitching holds up, we’ll have the edge.”
The Rangers will face the National League Rockies on Saturday at Soderquist Park. The time has yet to be announced.
“We want to go out there an attack the ball in the first inning,” Mirza said. “They’re going to have to make no mistakes to beat us.”