Bulldogs CCAL champs with win over Pride (2024)

Entering the final week of the 2024 regular season, Turlock High (17-8, 10-2) found themselves only needing to win one of three games against rival Pitman High (13-11, 7-5) to clinch the Central California Athletic League title outright. The Bulldogs clearly didn’t want to wait around for Wednesday or Friday, defeating the Pride 11-4 on Monday afternoon at the Pitman ballfieldin a game that they led from the very first inning.

Nothing seemed to faze the Bulldog lineup that saw eight of its nine batters reach base on nine hits and 10 walks against five different Pitman pitchers. Leading the way for Turlock’s offensive outburst was Carson Gonzales, who also served as the starting pitcher. By game’s end, he tallied three hits and four RBI.

After leading off the game with a triple against Pitman starter Jackson Way, Turlock speedster Carter Crivelli crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Josh Ramirez. Way was pulled after walking his second batter of the inning having recording just two outs. On the third pitch offered by reliever Ryder Scott, Gonzales nabbed his first RBI of the game with a single. The first-inning lead was extended to 4-0 with Andrew “Bubba” Lujan’s two-run single. Gonzales struck again an inning later with a two-run single off Scott and again in the fourth frame against Noah Cervantes with an RBI base knock.

Bulldogs CCAL champs with win over Pride (1)

“All those different pitchers being thrown out there, we just kept the same approach. I see fastball and swing at it, hitting it and taking it where it needs to go,” Gonzales said. “It didn’t matter who was pitching. It was all the same for me.”

On the mound, Gonzales experienced similar success, striking out eight and allowing four runs on four hits over four innings. He allowed the first two Pride runs off RBI hits by Way and Nathan Cervantes. The other two runs credited to the right-hander came with reliever Andrew Sevilla on the mound. The first inherited runner scored on a single by Justin Mayfield and the other on a sacrifice fly by Aiden Sanchez.

Also driving in runs to pad Turlock’s comfortable lead were Talan Castro (RBI single), Owen Miller (RBI single) and Joel Navarro (sacrifice fly).

“I saw them focused all week,” Turlock head coach Mike Souza said of his team entering Monday’s contest. “They were focused because they had something to prove. They wanted to go out and just take this in game one.”

Crivelli said he expected to win this year’s CCAL title (Turlock’s first since 2022) ever since reporting to the team’s first practice this winter.

Bulldogs CCAL champs with win over Pride (2)

“This feels long awaited. I don't know about these guys,” he said pointing to his teammates, “but I kind of expected it. Since the beginning I knew it. It feels nice, especially since it's not them this year.”

Last season, the Bulldogs were the league runners-up to Pitman. The Pride had dominated throughout the year with a 21-8-1 overall record and a 13-1 record in conference play. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, were 15-12-1 overall and 10-5 in league competition.

With the league title wrapped up and having improved to 18-8 overall on the year and 11-2 in CCAL play, the Bulldogs have no plans of taking the next two games against Pitman lightly. In the Sac-Joaquin Section, three teams from the CCAL will qualify for postseason play. With Turlock secured a spot, they must still try to improve their seeding position. There is also an added motivation to keep their crosstown rivals from qualifying, as the Pride, now 13-12 overall and 7-6 in conference play, find themselves behind Downey (13-13, 8-5) and Enochs (13-13, 7-6). Despite having matching league records with Enochs, the Eagles hold the tiebreaker with the Pride after winning the season series 2-1.

“We gotta stay locked in, gotta stay focused and not let the CCAL get into our heads,” Gonzales said. “We need to be able to beat these guys too. We need bragging rights on them.”

The series will transition to Mark de la Motte Field at Turlock High School for the second game of the series at 4 p.m. today. The series and regular season will wrap up Friday back at Pitman High, where first pitch is also slated for 4 p.m.

Bulldogs CCAL champs with win over Pride (2024)
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