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Yankees force second game of TOC finale
Yankees 5
Yankee Cameron Ward celebrates after scoring a run in Fridays 9-5 win over the Atwater Reds. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

The Yankees of the Turlock American Little League got their retribution on Friday night.

Coming off a 10-0 semifinal victory over the Giants from the National side in the Tournament of Champions, the Yanks carried their momentum into Friday’s championship contest against the Atwater Reds.

Yankee starter Cameron Ward was nearly untouchable as he allowed only one earned run on five innings of work and struck out seven Reds batters en route to the team’s 9-5 triumph and their second straight TOC win heading into today’s finale.

“It felt good to finally beat them since they got the walk off last time,” said Yankees head coach Cory Rodriguez. “We get one more game against them to get that rematch since its best of a three game series now so I think we are fine with our pitching tomorrow.”

The Yankees lost to the Reds 5-6 on Wednesday. This time the tables turned for the American Majors champions who really took it to the Reds.

Dominic Rodriguez, who has been drilling the ball recently, broke the game wide open with an RBI triple in the first inning, which was followed by a Landon Magina RBI fielder’s choice.

Up 2-0 heading into the bottom of the third, the Yankees racked up three more runs to take a 5-0 lead.

The Reds scored two in the fourth, both of which were unearned after some miscues on defense.

“Couple errors on our part but luckily Cam [Ward] stayed ahead in the count very well and that was it,” Rodriguez said of his starter.

The lone earned run from Ward crossed the plate in the top of the fifth but the Yanks had added to their lead at 7-3, working the pitcher into deep counts.

In fact, both Atwater starters threw 133 total pitches combined in only five innings, 30 of which came in the first inning.

 “It was a strategy to take more pitches because we knew they are short on pitchers,” said Rodriguez.

Turlock’s Ward finished with 86 pitches on five innings.

“His curveball was working very well and he got the strikes when we needed them,” Rodriguez said of Ward.

The Turlock side notched up two more runs in the fifth that began when Aukie Flores led off the fifth with a solo home-run over the center field wall on the second pitch.

With a 9-3 lead in the sixth and final inning, Landon Magina stepped in and struck out three to end the threat and seal the win.

In the last two games, the Yankees have scored a total of 19 runs in just 10 innings while allowing only five.

“The kids are finally relaxed while they are hitting. I think them playing in a new/different ball park is something different and they are confident, very confident group of hitters right now,” Rodriguez said.

The Yankees are scheduled to take on the Reds again at 7 p.m. today for the TOC Championship.