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Turlock beats Buhach baseball

TURLOCK -- Rob Mendonca's fastball would hardly register on a radar gun.

So to get his players prepared to face the type of heat they'd see this week against Buhach Colony, the Turlock coach threw batting practice on Monday from Little League distance.

It worked.

Turlock exploded for five runs in the third inning and handed BC right-hander Dylan Floro his first loss of the season -- snapping Buhach's 10-game winning streak with a 6-5 win Tuesday afternoon.

"You don't expect to get too many runs against him," said Mendonca, whose team improved to 6-3 in the Central California Conference.

"You saw in the first inning we were playing the infield in with a runner on third. He's one of the best pitchers around. We just scraped together some runs."

Almost every Turlock hitter choked up on the bat and shortened his swing from the start of the game against Floro, who came in with a 7-0 record and 0.14 ERA.

"He didn't have his best stuff," Buhach Colony coach Wayne Fitzgerald said. "He's human. We didn't play great defense behind him.

"Turlock found the gaps and they executed the hell out of us."

The big inning came in the fifth.

Turlock erased a 3-1 deficit by taking advantage of an error and two Floro walks.

Brian Romero delivered the biggest hit of the game when he connected with a Floro fastball and cleared the bases with a three-run triple that gave Turlock a 6-3 lead.

"I've been waiting for that chance," Romero said. "I was definitely looking fastball. That's my pitch."

He's not kidding.

"Brian's a senior who's had limited at-bats all year," Mendonca said. "He's a guy that can hit a plus-velocity fastball.

"He stuck with it this year, he got his chance and he came up big."

BC's J.C. Barcelo drove in runs with singles in the fourth and sixth to cut the lead to 6-5.

However, Turlock sophomore Vince Wheeland pitched a perfect seventh inning to save the game.

The win keeps Turlock in the thick of the playoff hunt and shrinks Buhach Colony's lead atop the CCC to just a half game over Golden Valley (7-3).

BC slipped to 7-2 in league play, 20-4 overall.

"We're going to come out with (Brett Mooneyham) on Thursday," Fitzgerald said. "We're going to bust our butts tomorrow and hopefully start another streak.

"I think every high school team needs to be reminded sometimes. We've had some breaks. We've had balls fall in for us.

"A loss isn't fun, but it can be helpful if you learn from it."