By Brian Reed-Baiotto
WALNUT — South Hills High School baseball standout Tyler France fell just one round shy of Dodger Stadium when his Huskies lost to Pacifica of Garden Grove, 2-1, six days ago in the CIF-SS Division 2 playoff semifinals.
But France officially ended his prep career Monday night at Mt. San Antonio College as the Most Valuable Player of the San Gabriel Valley All-Star game with an RBI single and a scoreless ninth inning on the mound to lead the Red team to a 5-3 victory over the visiting Blue team.
The Blue team, however, scored first in the top of the first at Mazmanian Field, when Bonita’s Thomas Castro tripled to center with one out.
One batter later, La Puente’s Randy Anaya had an RBI ground out to score Castro.
The Blue manufactured another run in the third when San Dimas’ Shawn Kennedy doubled to lead off the inning, Castro moved him to third on a ground out, and Anaya came through with another RBI ground out to give the Blue a 2-0 lead.
Montebello’s Silvestre Sanchez got the Red squad on the board when he singled to lead off the bottom of the third off Bishop Amat’s Kenny Ball.
Monrovia’s Justin Jones followed with a double to give Red second and third with one out. France singled home Silvestre, but Kennedy’s throw from center nailed Jones at the plate to minimize the damage.
The Blue’s Nick Herrejon (Sierra Vista) walked in the fourth and scored the team’s final run two batters later when Alhambra’s Juan Crespo hit a ground ball to second that was misplayed and the Blue led 3-1.
Arcadia’s Erik Trask reached base on a fielder’s choice for the Red and scored when the Blue couldn’t handle an Andrew Phillips’ (Pasadena) ground ball to short off Diamond Bar pitcher Henry Omana.
Walnut’s Caleb Romo got the Red even when he singled in the bottom of the fifth off Glendora’s Wyatt Wood and scored an Andrew Carrillo double.
Temple City’s Corey Copping gave the Red a 4-3 lead it would not relinquish when the Rams’ senior hit a sacrifice fly to score Carrillo.
Charter Oak’s Mack Lupton got the win by throwing a scoreless fifth inning and then Nogales’ Caleb Rodusky, Covina’s Nick Hynes, Arcadia’s Erik Trask and France each pitched one scoreless innings to close out the Blue team.
“My season at South Hills didn’t end quite the way I’d have liked it to, so to get one more chance to come out here and play with a bunch of kids I like and respect and to win was really fun,” France said. “I am really surprised I was named the game’s MVP, but it is definitely an honor to get that with all the talent on this field tonight.”
Bonita’s Tyler Heslop was named the game’s Most Valuable Hitter as the Bearcats senior had two singles.
Bishop Amat’s Daniel Zamora earned the Cory Lidle Pitcher of the Game by going two scoreless innings to start the game for the Blue and Los Altos shortstop Joe Munoz was the Defensive Player of the Game.
South Hills Danny Sheehan gave the Red an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when he singled in Temple City’s Calvin Copping, who had singled.