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Local athletes dominate All-Star Classic

Local athletes dominate All-Star Classic

Pitman High infielder Clay Cozzitorto makes a defensive play against Turlock High in league action. He will join other Turlock and Pitman high players as part of the West Large-School team in the 2...


POSTED June 24, 2011 7:56 p.m.

It’s no secret that many of the Pitman High and Turlock High athletes are friends, despite their crosstown rivalry. Some of them played on the same youth sports teams or grew up in the same neighborhoods.

When they face each other, it’s no secret they want to beat the other. But what happens when they’re on the same team? That scenario becomes a reality today, when the best high school baseball players from Turlock hijack the 22nd Stanislaus County All-Star Baseball Classic at John Thurman Field in Modesto, with first pitch at 7:05 p.m.

In all, 10 players from Turlock’s two public schools make up the West Large-School All-Stars 15-man roster.

“It’s a good thing there’s two high schools in Turlock or else a lot of the players would be left out,” said Turlock coach Mark de la Motte, who was an All-Star coach in last year’s event. “We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of good players. The guys deserve to be in the game and there’s one or two who deserve to be in the game but didn’t make it.”

There’s at least one alternate from the Turlock area.

And that’s not mentioning the Small-School All-Stars, with five Denair High and Turlock Christian High players filling up the East roster. That game will begin at 3:05 p.m. on the same field.

For Pitman and Turlock, this year’s number of All-Star participants is “by far” the most the city of Turlock has ever seen in the event, de la Motte said. Both teams are coming off memorable seasons. The Bulldogs made another run at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South title, only being stopped once again by St. Mary’s High of Stockton.

For Pitman, the Pride made the playoffs for the first time in five years.

In other words, the stands at Thurman Field will be filled with many Pitman and Turlock supporters.

Pitman will be represented by juniors Adam Nascimento, Zach Olsen and A.J. Derr and seniors Clay Cozzitorto and Brandon Lewis, with the latter two players having already signed to play at the college level. Turlock is led by UCLA-bound shortstop Kevin Kramer, who will reunite with junior Ryan Cumberland and seniors Jeremy McDonald, James Heller and Ryan Brown for one last game.

Turlock, to say the least, will be well-represented today.

“It says a lot about how great our athletes are,” Pitman’s Olsen said. “I’d say it shows Turlock has competitive athletes, gifted athletes and gifted people. It says when you play in Turlock, you’ll be challenged.”

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail csun@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

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