After opening the District 73 All-Star tournament with a 16-5 loss to Turlock National, Los Banos coach Frank Lopez was just worried about how his players would bounce back.
And bounce back they did, with a 7-0 victory over Turlock American in the elimination bracket followed by a 2-1 loss in nine innings to that same Turlock National team in the championship.
“Yeah, they bounced back pretty well,” Lopez said. “They played pretty well.”
With starter Steven Domanski on the mound for Los Banos, the Turlock team managed just one run until he was pulled in the eighth inning.
“Steven Domansky, that kid was lights out,” Lopez said. “They weren’t even touching him, and we had good defense behind him. It was a good, hard game by both sides.”
The win over Turlock American was just what Lopez was looking for, with the bats coming alive. But even though the offense wasn’t really there in the championship, the defense made him smile.
“It made me proud. Those guys showed a lot of heart,” Lopez said. “It’s easy to win, but you’ve got to learn how to lose sometimes. They took it well, even though I thought we did enough to win the game. We had a couple of calls, but you can’t blame it on that. It was a good game all around. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.”
At the younger levels, the 11-year-old team also lost in the championship, dropping an 8-1 decision to Turlock American. Los Banos lost 6-5 to Turlock American in the opener, then bounced back wth a 27-0 victory over Mariposa and a 10-4 win over Turlock National in the elimination bracket.
“We left the bases loaded a couple of times. But they played so well,” Los Banos coach John Cook said. “And then the game at home (against Turlock National), that was probably one of the best games I’ve seen. Defensively, offensively, running the bases, that was probably the most fundamentally sound game I’ve seen all year. It was really played well. They didn’t do anything wrong all night. They had the confidence going into Sunday, it just got away from them.”
The championship game was tied 1-1 after five innings, courtesy of a quality start by Alex Martinez. Los Banos’ Mateo Luna scored Los Banos’ run on a Luke Bowman hit.
Like Lopez, Cook was proud of his players.
“It was an enjoyment,” he said. “It’s a great group of kids.”
Los Banos’ 12-year-old team went 0-2 in the tournament, dropping a 5-3 decision to Turlock American on June 29 and an 8-7 game to Atwater on July 2, and the 10-year-old team came one game away from the championship before losing 10-0 to Turlock National on July 3.