Local high school baseball standouts had a final chance to play ball on Saturday at two area all-star games.
Hilmar High had five players on the North squad in the Merced County All-Star game: Preston Costa, Auston Sutton, Treven Crowley, Chris Flores and Zach Berbera. The Yellowjackets helped their team earn a 2-1 win over the South team.
Berberia and Crowley each tossed a shutout inning and both will advance to the Merced v. Stanislaus game on Friday.
The crosstown rivalry between Turlock and Pitman High was in full effect one final time for the season on Saturday afternoon from Stanislaus State when the league rivals faced off against each other in the 28th annual Modesto Sunrise Rotary Baseball Classic.
Pitman's three representatives: AJ Encalade, Jack Wheeland and Brandon Pacheco, were part of the Blue squad, which ended up cruising through the Gold squad, 14-2, and earning bragging rights.
The Gold squad consisted of nine schools and 22 players including Turlock's Case Pacheco, Chris Steeley and Dallin Tilby.
“It's an honor to be recognized as a premier player in the area, a humbling experience,” said Steeley.
“It was a great honor to be recognized and represent Pitman in the all-star game,” said Wheeland. “I wouldn't want to represent any other high school, this last season for us at Pitman was great it surpassed my expectations. Even though we didn't end on a sweet note, I will never forget this season.”
It’s hard to forget a season where the Pride earned a co-share of the Central California Conference title with their crosstown rivals Turlock after both went 10-2 in league play, earning postseason berths.
Encalade was 2-for-4 on Saturday and drove in three runs in the first inning after clearing the bases with a hit. Encalade batted .325 for the year, along with 15 RBI and had seven doubles and four triples.
“I’m very satisfied with the outcome, I was hoping to make it to rep my school and I loved that I got to do it with two of my teammates,” said Encalade.
Turlock, which had more underclassmen starting this past year, still managed to find success enroute to an overall record of 18-8, earning a first-round win over Tokay in the D-I tournament before falling to St. Mary's in the second round.
Thankfully many return for next year. Two of the returners include Pacheco and Tilby, who were part of Saturday's action.
Steeley and Pacheco started for the Gold team while Tilby came in and tossed one inning of relief pitching in the second inning.
“I was surprised when I got elected, but got the text from coach Gregory and told I made it, kind of surreal and it ended up being well,” said Turlock's Pacheco. “Now I know we will come back next year and be stronger than ever. We want Sections next year.”
The Blue team took an early lead in the first inning, scoring four runs while the Gold had just one run in the bottom of the first and one in the fifth.
The Blue side was up 14-2 by the sixth and kept the lead.
Pacheco of Pitman played at outfield while Wheeland tossed the third inning, allowing no runs and walking two.
“I was satisfied playing this game with my teammates,” said Wheeland. “Because one last game is never enough and it did feel good to come out with a win, even though this game is to showcase everyone's great talent who was selected to play.”
The Merced v. Stanislaus game will take place from Merced College at 7 p.m. Friday.