Jon Temple of Turlock and Pitman's Colton Evans stole the show on Saturday night in the 27th annual Modesto Sunrise Rotary All-Star game in front of over 1,000-plus spectators at Stanislaus State’s Warrior Baseball Field.
With some of the best players that the Stanislaus District has to offer, Evans responded as he tallied a pair of hits while Temple was just a double shy of the cycle for the West as they edged out the East in a Turlock and Pitman highlighted game, 7-5.
“It's an absolute blessing,” said Evans. “I mean, talk about some guys you enjoy being around. They are great players and just a positive environment. You are always super happy when you get to face some of the best talent in the area. Great job on both sides; it was a close game and we fought, just happy to be a part of it.”
The two Turlock natives were named the Most Valuable Players for their respective teams after each dominated the game and really provided their team with a much needed spark.
“It's a confidence booster, but at the same time it is humbling,” said Temple about being named the MVP on the winning side. “Being able to play with these guys going to other places, (it's) humbling but at the same time you want to win. I like winning since I am very competitive.”
Temple and his Bulldogs team didn't end the year the way they had hoped, but along with his three other teammates and Turlock Christian's Soren Jerner, the West team was ready to prove something.
Although there wasn't much offense for the game, Temple and Evans triggered the beginning of it.
In fact, it was Temple who put the West ahead early in the game with their first runs after drilling a two-run triple in the top of the third inning on the third pitch of the at-bat.
Temple would eventually score on a throwing error to extend the lead to 3-0 and Oakdale's Ben Solario scored on a bases-loaded walk to cap off the four-run inning.
“It was a matter of relaxing and playing catch as I enjoy doing and props to the guys who threw to me since they were spotting me really well,” said Temple. “Whether it was called a ball or strike I took advantage of it.”
Just an inning later, Temple blasted a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall for a solo homer off Hughson pitcher Grant Williams to extend the lead to 5-0. Temple was able to reach base four times, which included a walk in the sixth, a homer, single and triple.
Evans was almost as influential as Temple en route to his own MVP honors as he finished with a 2 for 3 performance that included a double and a run scored.
“I am so thankful they even considered me. I go out on to that field and give it my all, I don't care if it's practice or what it is, the fact that these coaches saw it, means a lot,” said Evans.
It was in the fourth inning when Evans led off with a double and then scored the first run for the East on a sacrifice fly by Beyer's Ryan Frakes.
The Pride and Bulldogs combined for eight selections and they made their mark all over the box score.
Pitman's AJ Encalade and Matt Carrigg also drove in runs for the game to back-up Evans.
Turlock's Tate Soderstrom reached base twice on a hit-by-pitch and walk, while Blaine Weber notched the save with two strikeouts in the ninth inning
Altogether, the city of Turlock had six hits, four runs scored and five RBI in a game that invited the top talent from Newman all the way to Oakdale.
“It's pretty cool to experience this since I know our league wasn't up to par with some of these leagues and players, but it was a good experience to know how I could get better and will get,” said Jerner.
The East tried to creep back into the contest as the game carried on but after Weber was subbed in the eighth inning with a 6-4 lead, it looked all but over.
As the winning-est pitcher in the CCC for the year, Weber was able to contain the bats and pitched two shutout innings.
Even in the ninth inning, when Evans was on-deck as the game's tying run, Weber was able to get the strikeout to end the threat.
“Ending the season like we did was pretty rough and just coming out here I was more relaxed than the playoff game because stuff gets to you in the playoffs,” Temple added. “And it definitely got to me, but it was special to come out here since my family was out here.”
Turlock and Pitman baseball players will next be a part of a Stanislaus County All-Star team that meet the Merced County All-Stars team at 7:15 p.m. Friday at Merced College.