Austin Bankowski has had little trouble retiring hitters in Utah, generating plenty of power from his 6-foot-6 frame while helping Woods Cross to seven consecutive victories.
Thanks to the Internet, that reputation arrived in the San Joaquin Valley long before Bankowski and the Wildcats.
Not that it mattered much.
One swing by Ryan Cumberland ruined what was a perfect ERA and led Turlock to a 4-2 win over Woods Cross, handing one of Utah's top teams its first loss of the year.
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Bankowski was 3-0 and had held foes to a .119 batting average going into Tuesday's Windemuth Classic, but Turlock got to the right-hander early.
Jeremy McDonald's second-inning single gave Turlock (12-2) a 1-0 lead — the run was unearned — and the Bulldogs loaded the bases in the third.
Ryan Brown doubled, Ryan Flood singled and Kevin Kramer walked, so Bankowski had to throw strikes. Cumberland stepped into a pitch on the outside of the plate, going opposite field to drive it deep in the right-field corner.
That drove in all three runners, but it was the last bit of offense Turlock would enjoy.
It was enough, however, as lefty Dylan Silva (2-0) and two relievers combined on a four-hitter. Silva got in trouble in the fifth — Woods Cross had two runs in and the bases loaded with one out — but he struck out cleanup-hitting Bankowski and got lefty Blake Titmus on a grounder.
Turlock went to its bullpen to finish the game, as Cumberland and Vince Wheeland each threw a shutout inning.
The three combined for nine strikeouts while leading Turlock, The Bee's top-ranked large-school team, to its ninth consecutive victory.
If Turlock tops Escalon today, coach Mark de la Motte said, it will play for the title Thursday with the Oklahoma State-bound Wheeland (4-0, 0.28 ERA) on the mound. Today it will turn to No. 2 starter David Herrera (4-1, 2.96).
Silva was making his first start, having thrown just six innings in three previous appearances, and was able to escape a couple of tight spots.
With two on and no outs in the second, he got a strikeout and two high fly balls into the stiff wind to keep it scoreless. With two on and an out in the fourth, he got another strikeout and a defensive gem from Cumberland at third to keep the 'Cats (7-1) off the board.
"Dylan got in a couple tight spots, but he stayed calm and got us out of trouble," said de la Motte, whose club topped Davis ace Jake Sisco to open the tournament on Monday.
"We've seen two fine pitchers the last two days and it will make us a better team when we return to the (Central California Conference)."