ATWATER The Los Banos 12-year-old little league all-star team in the first game of a double-elimination championship on Sunday, losing to 11-9 to Turlock American after trailing 8-0 after the first inning.
The Turlock team took heed the next night after jumping out 8-0 again, this time adding a 10-run fourth to nail the coffin shut on Los Banos in a 21-5 win.
"We got manhandled. No excuses. One win from winning district and we faltered," Los Banos coach Rick Augustine said. "But the team played hard and never gave up."
Turlock chased Los Banos starter Kody Cardoza, the ace of the Los Banos Little League majors all spring, in a three-run third inning after he gave up two walks and a double to his last three batters. His replacement, Trey Augustine, finished the inning but gave up nine runs in the fourth before LB recorded an out.
Augustine was responsible for LB's only extra-base hit, a double to the right-field gap in the second inning. He also reached second base in the first inning on a single with a base on the throw home. He finished 2-for-3 batting in the second spot. Leadoff hitter Trent Mallonee went 3-for-3 with a pair of runs and a stolen base.
The only other LB batters to record hits were Paulie Calderon and Jose Cerda. Cardoza and Dasani Tate each reached after being hit by pitches, and Jimmy Veyna led off the fourth inning with a walk.
"Sometimes the other team is better," Augustine said. "I'm proud of the kids. The experience will help them grow."
Turlock's bats stayed alive the whole game, with just one empty frame a one-walk second inning that saw two strikeouts by Cardoza. Turlock third baseman Eric Baines led the charge, going 4-for-4 with 8 RBI, including a three-run home run in the fourth inning that cleared not just the outfield fence, but another beyond that to fall into a canal. Pitcher Joey Romeo also hit a three-run blast in the first inning.
Los Banos scored one in the bottom of the first inning when Trent Mallonee beat out and infield single, stole second and later scored on a Sebastian Luna sacrifice fly. Four more came across in the second when Cerda scored on a Mallonee single, Tate scored on Augustine's double, then Mallonee and Augustine scored on passed balls and wild pitches.