Clay Souza stroked three hits, one of them a homer, to support winning pitcher Justin Hill during Turlock’s 9-1 win Wednesday over Modesto.

Power surge: Turlock slugs three homers to overwhelm Modesto

Ron Agostini

MODESTO – Streeter Field at Modesto High still features a 24-foot tall fence that protects cozy dimensions – only 265 feet down the left field line and 300 feet to left center.

That porch no doubt has helped the home team many times over the years. Unfortunately for the Panthers, Wednesday afternoon wasn’t one of those occasions.

Turlock pounded three home runs over that barrier, none more impressive than Dominic Rodriguez’s bomb that may have cleared Yosemite Avenue beyond the fence. Clay Souza and Estevan Martinez also homered during the Bulldogs’ 9-1 Central California Athletic League victory Wednesday afternoon.

Turlock’s Clay Souza doubled twice and homered during Turlock’s 9-1 win over Modesto on Wednesday afternoon, earning the Fuddruckers Player of the Game.

Souza’s two-run home run the third inning and his two doubles accented the Bulldogs’ 14-hit attack. Turlock (10-4, 5-0), winners of six straight, scored in all but one inning.

“We’re coming together as the season goes along,” Souza said. “The ball was just flying off the bats today.”

Modesto (4-9, 1-4), more competitive in a 4-1 loss at Turlock on Monday, couldn’t match Turlock’s swinging lumber. The Panthers managed only one hit, a clean single to left by Carson Hull in the third off winning pitcher Justin Hill.

“That last one (Rodriguez’s homer) was legal,” Modesto coach Daryl Galloway said. “You give and you take, I guess.”

Galloway, the Panthers’ coach the past 14 seasons, doesn’t like 9-1 losses but he’s armed with fresh perspective.  He’s probably lucky to be alive.

Galloway’s truck was T-boned and rolled two weeks ago in Modesto. Though he needed help to escape the destroyed vehicle, he suffered only two scars to his right shin.

“I’m good. The truck took the damage. I was sore the next day,” he said. “The roof was crushed except for the portion above my head.”

Baseball-wise, Turlock inflicted all the damage Wednesday. The Bulldogs’ four-run third was assisted by a costly Modesto error which should have ended the inning. Instead, a run was plated on the miscue and Souza followed with his big fly.

Turlock, which shared the Central California Conference title with Buhach Colony and Pitman in 2018, is gearing for another championship run. After Friday’s series finale against Modesto, the Bulldogs collide with second-place Pitman (4-1 in the CCAL after Wednesday's loss to Gregori) three times next week.

“We have a ton of pitching. It helps us during these three-game weeks,” Turlock first-year coach Sean Gilbert said. “We’re just trying to have a patient approach at the plate and for our pitchers to throw strikes.”

Hill, who went the first four innings, displayed a sharp-breaking curve that produced three Modesto strikeouts with the bases loaded. Eathan Hurt and Cole Carrigg completed the team one-hitter.

“Those three guys threw harder than anyone we’ve seen this year,” Galloway said.

Turlock 9, Modesto 1

Turlock         104 111 1 – 9 14 2

Modesto      000 010  0 – 1  1 1

Justin Hill, Eathan Hurt (5), Cole Carrigg (6) and Dominic Rodriguez. Ethan Adamson, Mitchell McGinnis (5), Daniel Mosarah (7) and Cole Prokes. Turlock – Clay Souza 3-4 with 2 2b and 2-run HR; Dominic Rodriguez 2-4 with HR; Estevan Martinez 2-4 with HR; Cole Carrigg 2-4 with RBI; Tyler Soderstrom 2-4 with 2b and RBI; Dalton Linn 1-1 with RBI; Mason King 2b. Modesto – Carson Hull 1-3.

Records – Turlock 10-4, 5-0 CCAL; Modesto 4-9, 1-4 CCAL.