Okay, so that’s a lame headline, but I had to come up with something. I wish it was more of an East-West underclassman game so I could brag how much better the East side of the Valley is over the slumping West. But we already knew that, right?
By Miguel Melendez
PASADENA - The heavy, dark clouds threatening rain could not dim the spotlight from the future baseball stars in San Gabriel Valley. The second annual Underclassman All-Star Game set the stage for the North to shine with a 15-5 victory over the South on Saturday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Glendora junior Jacob Smigelski earned MVP honors after striking out three in two innings and allowed just one run on three hits. He also also walked, stole a base and scored a run. “I tried to fire it out there and try my best,” Smigelski said. “It was fun playing with all the guys.”
Burbank’s Chase Mersola led the South going 1-for-3 with a run scored in the fourth off McCalley Taylor’s (Burbank) single to center. Walnut’s Brett Bonilla scored the South’s first run in the second after he reached first base on a fielder’s choice and also scored on a fielder’s choice. He scored the fifth run in the bottom of the ninth, too. Nogales’ Alberto Lopez scored the South’s third run in the bottom of the ninth on a passed ball. George Holland of San Dimas added the fourth run also in the ninth.
Smigelski recorded the game’s first strikeout of the evening in third when he struck out Northview’s Eddie Pedroza and Arman Valenzuela on consecutive at-bats.
The North took an early 3-0 lead in the second and built on it from there. Glendora sophomore Wallace Gonzalez drew a walk to get things started. Bonita’s Brian Tuttle singled to left and Maranatha’s Danny Beckwith reached first after the umpire ruled obstruction from the catcher. With the bases loaded, Arcadia’s Haram Park had a bloop single drop at left center to score Gonzalez for the 1-0 lead.
St. Francis’ Mark Satzer reached first on an error and Tuttle scored to make it, 2-0.
Monrovia’s Justin De La Nuez’s sacrifice to center scored Beckwith for the 3-0 lead.
The South had its best chance in the fifth, trailing only 5-2, but couldn’t capitalize with bases loaded and two outs. South El Monte’s Manny Pantoja was hit by a pitch, Montebello’s Anthony Milan reached first after a strikeout-passed ball and Don Bosco Tech’s John Calderon also was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But the opportunity dissipated after El Monte’s Adrian Ramirez grounded out to third.
Gabrielino’s Keith Clapp went 2-for-2 with two singles and Schurr’s Christian Madrid went 1-for-2 with a two-run single in the ninth to lead the South.
Arcadia’s Haram Park went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and A.J. Berglun of St. Francis went 1-for-2 with an RBI triple in the sixth.
A skills competition, before the game, featured 60-yard dash timing and agility courses. Former Major League pitcher Jim Gott gave the crowd a brief speech before the start of the game. Kiko Garcia, founder of KG Sports Training Foundation which sponsored the game, said they raised around $2,000 through admission sales, concession stands and silent auctions. KG Sports Training Foundation is a nonprofit set up to help kids off the street.