The East took down the West, 5-2, in a defensive grudge battle in the 24th annual Modesto Sunrise Rotary Baseball classic on Saturday — a tradition that dates back to 1990.
“These groups of guys are coming from some of the more competitive teams around here in the Central Valley and they meshed together extremely quickly in our one day of practice and it seems like they have been playing together all year,” East manager Dominic Duran said.
Playing for the West, Turlock High had the most representatives from one school with five — Cameron Matsumura, Adam Groesbeck, Brett Cumberland, Tyler Murphy and Nick Voumard. Pitman followed with four — Trevor Chaney, Byron Baker, Jordan Gonzalez, and Brandon Hauser.
Playing for the East were Nick Mirza and Patrick Dudley represented Denair High.
Starting the game for the West was Murphy of Turlock High, earning his second consecutive Most Outstanding Player of the Game award as he was nothing short of amazing once again tossing two shutout innings, allowing no runs, striking out four, and giving up only one hit and walk.
“This was a fun opportunity to play with everybody one last time...it was a good experience it was a great season, breaking the record and everything was awesome and great way to go out that’s for sure,” Murphy said.
The West had a difficult time trying to find the ball in the glove in numerous occasions as they committed over seven errors and produced only three hits, five walks and two runs on the offensive side. All runs and hits came before the third inning as the West was then shutout for six straight innings by the East’s phenomenal pitching and great defensive play.
Combined, the pitching for the East allowed only three hits, two runs, five walks, and six strike outs behind a perfect defense that made no errors for the game. The offense produced six hits and scored five runs. Half of the team’s hits came from James Pernetti of Ceres High who went 3-for-4 with a run scored.
Dudley from Denair High walked in the first and also scored the third run in the bottom of the third for his East All-Star team after the West committed one of its seven errors for the ball game that would eventually cost the team the win.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by the coaches to go out there and face off against great competition from what I am used to. It was definitely a lot of fun,” Dudley said.
From Pitman High, Gonzalez pitched one inning in the fifth and struck out the side for the West. Voumard of Turlock High closed the game for the West and threw one inning and struck out two in the ninth. Groesbeck, also from Turlock, produced one of the team’s three hits and went 1-for-3 for the day, with a walk and also stole two bags.
“It’s a really good honor to be included. I thought it was a good game and I had a great time, it was fun to go out there being a senior and coming back out to be with all these great players, it's really cool,” Groesback said.
The East and West squads are now neck and neck with a lifetime record dead even at 14-14-1 after Saturday.