A total of four local players took part in Saturday's 3-1 decision in the seventh annual Merced County vs. Stanislaus County All-Star Baseball Game on Friday night at Merced College.
Alex Chavez and Jarrod Willis of Hilmar represented the Merced team that pulled off the win over Pitman's Matt Carrigg and Blaine Weber of Turlock, who were part of the Stanislaus team that played with a much slimmer roster.
“We spoke about them having more D1 teams than us, but that doesn't mean we can't compete and we did. Regardless, we have good ball players since we got the 'W,'” said Chavez.
The Merced County All-Stars were able to shut down the Stanislaus bats by limiting their opportunities and holding them to just a lone run on seven hits.
Merced started strong as El Capitan junior Sai Davuluri set the tone for the Merced County squad by starting the game with two shutout innings.
Carrigg was the only player to get a hit off Davuluri after drilling a two-out smack.
Buhach Colony's Nick Singer was able to follow up with two scoreless innings and struck out a pair but not before allowing Weber to get a single in the third, but left two runners on and silenced the Stanislaus bats in the fourth.
Willis started the first three innings at third base and Chavez checked in the fifth inning and played until the final out.
“When I was in I did what I could and I got a hit, since I didn't get one last time and caught a couple routine balls and did what I could to help my team win,” said Chavez.
All three runs for Merced came in the third inning.
Beyer’s Matt Williams, Johansen’s Joaquin Ramirez, A.J. MacCaughtry and Turlock’s Weber combined to shut out Merced’s offense in the final five innings.
Weber went three up and three down in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, after one of the top pitchers in the area ended his career the way he wanted to.
“It was mainly just about representing Turlock and sending them as well as my name off well,” said Weber. “This is it for me. It's awesome, such a satisfying feeling that I did so well at the level of competition I was playing at, an awesome feeling and it's something I will never forget.”
Weber allowed just 13 earned runs in 57 and 2/3 innings pitched this season and had the lowest ERA of any Bulldog starter at 1.58.
“I didn't anything too different besides going in and giving it all I had, nothing special,” said Weber very humbly. “I really did nothing different, just focused on making my pitches and getting the job done.”
Stanislaus scored its run in the fifth inning after Carrigg drove in a run with bases loaded, but then Chavez ended the threat by catching the final out of the inning.
The final four innings were a blur of ineffectiveness for Stanislaus and great pitching from the Merced side who capped off the win for the second consecutive year.
Merced owns the series 5-2.