All year long the Yankees have dominated the Turlock American Little League Majors with their deep pitching and explosive offense but when the playoffs started back on May 19, they were upset in a 5-6 loss to the Angels which was only their second loss all year long.
Sitting in the losers' bracket after the upset, the Yankees were able to rally and win four consecutive contests in order to claim the championship that ended with a 7-3 win over the Red Sox on Thursday night at Julien field.
“...once you lose that first round game, then your back is against the wall and the kids responded every game,” said Yankees head coach Kurtis Carr. “Pretty much through the playoffs every game was a nail biter.”
“Last year we only won two games and went from second to last to second place and I am very proud of my boys,” said Red Sox head coach Grady Welch.
With such a deep team, the Yankees were put to the ultimate test in the postseason as the leaders Dominic Rodriguez, Cameron Ward and Landon Magina stepped up along with the rest of the squad.
After winning two games over the Tigers and Angels the second go around, the American Championship game was set with a matchup that many baseball fans are familiar with.
The Red Sox took a different path. After a 5-4 win over the Tigers in the first round, they then toppled the Angels in a one-run game before meeting the Yankees in a two-game series.
“We got here to the title on two walk offs and my kids have the biggest heart in this league and they played with so much heart and never gave up,” Welch said.
In the first meeting on Wednesday, Rodriguez and Magina led the Yankees offense to seven runs after each tallied a home-run apiece behind the arm of starter Rodriguez who allowed only one run in six innings of work.
Eventually the Red Sox had no response for Rodriguez and they fell by six runs.
In Thursday's contest, the Red Sox took an early 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the third, then after a run crossed the plate, Rodriguez blasted a two-run homer over the center field wall to tie the game at 3-3.
“I tip the hat to Dominic. He is a heckuva ball player and I look forward to watching him play for years to come, he is a great ball player,” Welch said. “I think as soon as we gave up the home run we just shut down."
Rodriguez was clutch once again for his team in the bottom of the fourth, when after a 1-2 count, he hit a line drive two-run double over the shortstop and the Yankees took the 7-3 lead that would hold for the remainder of the game.
“Dom is a special, special player and anytime he steps in the batter's box you think something great is going to happen and sure enough throughout the playoffs he came through and delivered,” Carr said. “I am happy to finish what we started at the beginning of the year and it's been outstanding to watch them blossom.”
The City championship game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday at Soderquist field.
“We will go in and hope to continue to throw strikes and if we do that then the next thing we will focus on is defense and try to play small ball as well,” Carr added. “We want to take away the bunts and make sure we make the plays we need to because the hits will take care of themselves.”