By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Riverbank All-Stars Prep For Trio Of Tournaments
After putting together a better than average regular season in Riverbank Little League action, a group of coach-pitch Riverbank All-Stars are looking to make a surprising impact on the area's tournament squads during a lengthy run in summertime tournaments.

Riverbank head coach Carlos Gonzales hand picked the standout players from the group of young diamondmen and formed a Riverbank all-star team that will likely turn some heads through a tournament jog that will roll through the end of July.

"I think the three tournaments will be just enough for the kids to come together as a team," Gonzales said. "They played 15 regular season games, so this will be just enough time to get these guys together as a unit."

The all-star squad will open tournament play in Turlock at Pedretti Fields, opening a summer circuit that will feature three tournament appearances amongst the standout teams from all over the Central Valley.

"Our Riverbank all-star team has a lot of talent," Gonzales said. "I think we have six or seven players who really have some special talent. We've got some kids who can really hit the baseball.

"There are some kids who seem to have been playing baseball a lot longer than they have."

The Riverbank group is taking full advantage of their preparation time leading up to the first tournament, spending three days a week on the diamond fine-tuning their swings and defensive responsibilities before matching up with some of the area's well-known powerhouse programs.

"Of course everyone is always shooting to beat Bel Passi," Gonzales said. "They are always strong. We know that Oakdale will be solid, so we have an idea of how good the other clubs are."

Some members of the squad linked up at Castleberg Park on June 20 to get in some bonus batting practice. Each player was given two rounds of hacks, working on hitting the ball the other way, driving in runs and even polishing their basehit-bunt methods under the piping hot sun.

The squad will get their final tune up this week when perennial powerhouse Oakdale Baseball will make the short drive to Riverbank, giving both teams a tournament style practice game before heading to Turlock for the June 25 - 28 action on the Pedretti diamonds.

The team is mostly made up of seven- to eight-year-olds who have stood out during regular season play and now look to bolt Riverbank into the 'who's who' in Little League baseball.

Riverbank's all-stars will continue their summer circuit with appearances in the Ceres Tournament followed by a late July appearance in Modesto's Bel Passi Tournament. The kids will be seeded against the more developed programs from this area, giving the youngsters a great opportunity to usher Riverbank back on the map.

"That is one thing that excites me the most," Gonzales said of his squad. "These seven- and eight-year-olds don't tend to get nervous. The majority of our players don't care about winning and losing, they just love playing baseball.

"The sooner we get out there the more fun they're going to have."