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Prep baseball stars cap off seasons, careers at 32nd Rotary All-Star Game
Rotary all STars Hughson
The Hughson High program tied with Oakdale in having the most players named to this year’s annual Modesto Sunrise Rotary All-Star Game with seniors Paul Wagner, Caleb Wilson, JC Lupercio and Beau Blake. Additionally, their staff — head coach Charly Garza and assistants Juan Lupercio, Andy Sanchez and Zack Garza — were given the honor of managing the Blue team (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).

The sun was shining bright onto Warrior Field at Stanislaus State on Saturday afternoon as 45 of some of the best baseball players from 22 high schools from across the county competed in the 32nd edition of the Modesto Sunrise Rotary All-Star Game. Among those named all-stars this year were Turlock’s Carter Crivelli and Tyler Castro, Pitman’s Alex Trujillo, Denair’s Kaden Prine and Lincoln Hart, and Hughson’s Paul Wagner, Caleb Wilson, JC Lupercio and Beau Blake.

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Turlock senior Carter Crivelli bats in the first inning of the 32nd annual Modesto Sunrise Rotary All-Star Game on Saturday (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

The nearly three-hour, nine inning contest ended in an 8-4 win in favor of the Gold team, which featured the Pitman and Denair ballplayers.

Prine and Hart were two of just six juniors named all-stars this season. They both entered the game in the top of the fifth inning, with Prine being tabbed to pitch and Hart taking over at second base. Prine, this year’s Southern Athletic League Pitcher of the Year, was not fazed by the big stage, tossing a perfect inning that included a pair of strikeouts. In the bottom half of the frame, he gave his team a valuable insurance run on a sac-fly to make it a 3-0 ballgame. Hart, meanwhile, was limited to a groundout in his lone at-bat.

“It feels good to be out here, especially being from a small school like Denair, to get a little bit of recognition feels nice,” Hart said.

“It’s a pretty big honor,” Prine added. “There’s a lot of good guys out here, so we just want to come out here, compete, do well and represent Denair.”

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Denair junior Kaden Prine lifts a sacrifice-fly to right field in his only at-bat in the fifth inning of the game (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

Hart caught Prine for the entirety of the 2024 season.

“It’s wonderful to be here with him,” Prine said. “He’s one of the best catchers I’ve ever been with, so to see him at the All-Star Game with me is a big deal.”

Trujillo, a senior, played nearly half of the game. Though he finished 0-for-3 at the plate, the opportunity to represent the Pride for the final time as a player was priceless.

“It’s special because we all put in the work. This game, it’s a fun time to be out here and play with and against all these guys one last time before college,” he said. “We’re all pretty good out here, so it’s a cool opportunity to showcase our talent.”

Seniors Crivelli and Castro were opposite of Trujillo, representing the city on the Blue team. Crivelli, who made his second straight All-Star Game appearance after being named the Central California Athletic League Most Valuable Player just two weeks ago, played the first four innings, batting leadoff and playing center field, before reentering the game in the ninth inning. He finished 1-for-4 with the bat in his hands, with his lone hit being a double in that inning. 

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Senior Alex Trujillo was the lone Pitman High representative at Stanislaus State for the All-Star Game on Saturday (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

“I didn’t know you could come two years in a row and be named an All-Star more than once, but I guess you can now. So it was kind of a surprise, but it’s pretty nice to be out here again,” Crivelli said.

Castro was 0-for-1 but reached base after being hit by a pitch in the first inning.

“It’s a pretty good feeling to be here with all these guys, especially since I’ve played with some of these guys on other teams and leagues growing up,” Castro said. “We definitely want to come out here and represent Turlock in a good way with good attitudes and play a good game on the field.”

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Turlock senior Tyler Castro runs the bases in the first inning (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

The Hughson program tied with Oakdale in having the most players from either squad named to this year’s annual exhibition. Additionally, their coaches were given the honor of managing each team.

Lupercio, a junior who was named Trans-Valley League Defensive Player of the Year after the Huskies clinched the league title, described the game as a “turning of the chapters.” The contest marked the final time seniors Wagner and Wilson wore the Hugshon caps as players.

“It’s super exciting and sad at the same time since this is the last time we’ll all be together,” Lupercio said. “I mean we’ll probably make it out to watch a couple of their games (in college), but it’s still bittersweet.”

Wagner, who was this year’s TVL Offensive Player of the Year, plans to play at Ohlone College in Fremont next season while Wilson, the league’s Most Valuable Player, has committed to pitch next year at Cal Lutheran. 

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Denair junior Lincoln Hart takes off towards first base after hitting a groundball in his lone at-bat of Saturday’s All-Star Game (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

“It feels good to get the nod again,” Wagner said. “It’s really exciting to be out here. I’m thankful to be selected to be on the All-Star team again. It’s a good atmosphere out here with a lot of good guys.”

Wagner was 1-for-2 at the plate, racing around the bases for a triple in the first inning. After being taken out of the game after the third inning, he reentered as a pitcher in the seventh, where he struck out three batters after a leadoff walk.

Despite going 0-for-2 at the plate, Wilson tossed two innings in which his only run surrendered came on a passed ball. Other than the one baserunner, he retired the other six batters he faced.

“It’s just an honor to play with my friends one more time,” he said.

Blake, a junior, was 0-for-1 in his limited playing time, but made an impact when he entered the game in the seventh inning. After drawing a walk, he advanced to second on a single and stole third before the ball was thrown away, allowing him to score the Blue team’s first run of the game.

Lupercio, also a junior, was an offensive spark for the Blue squad, slapping two singles in his only two plate appearances. After his second hit in the eighth inning, he scored on an RBI single by Central Valley’s Chris Garcia to cut the deficit to 4-3.

“This game, it’s like a new beginning for me and Beau,” Lupercio said. “We’re the ones stepping up for our team next, so hopefully we'll be here again next year.”

The Blue team’s rally was short-lived as the Gold squad put up four runs in the top of the ninth, including an RBI double from the game’s Most Outstanding Player, Johansen senior Jordan Vaka.

“I just wanted to get some runs across the board so we could win,” he said. “It was fun… It feels good knowing I went out with a bang.”

All proceeds from the game will be going towards the Modesto Sunrise Rotary’s community service projects. According to the organization, in the more than three decades of organizing the event, they have raised more than $230,000 for local youth and high school sports.