EXETER – The West All-Stars displayed a flair for the dramatic in the 62nd edition of the Exeter Lions Club All-Star baseball game on June 17.
Trailing 9-4 after seven innings, the West stars erupted for four runs in the eighth and added one in the ninth to force extra innings before adding three in the 10th for a 12-9 victory at Dobson Field. It marked the West’s fourth win in the last five games played in the 62-year series (there was no game in 2020 because of COVID-19 and the teams tied in 10 innings in 2021).
El Diamante’s Brandon Petty was awarded Most Valuable Player honors, mainly for his two scoreless innings of relief late that featured no hits allowed and four strikeout. The West scored the decisive runs with two RBI singles and an error off Lindsay pitcher Gio Chavez. Petty scored two runs in the game, including one in the 10th.
Dinuba High’s contingent of pitcher Keine Prendez and outfielder Armando Mejia both contributed to the victory for the West, coached by the Emperors’ Brent Morrelli along with his assistants and coaches from Golden West, Mt. Whitney and Lemoore.
Prendez got the pitching start and threw two scoreless innings allowing just one hit and striking out three. He moved to center field in the later innings and went 1-for-2 with an RBI single in the eighth inning. Mejia started in right field and went 0-for-3, but hustled to first on a chopper in the opening inning for force a throwing error that scored the game’s first run.
The game ebbed and flowed between the teams on a warm evening. The West jumped to a 4-0 lead, getting the remaining three runs in the third inning including RBI singles by Mt. Whitney’s Mark Rocha and Golden West’s Nick Simon. The next four innings, it was all East as the hosts scored twice in the fourth (RBI singles by Chavez and Tulare Western’s Drew Gonzales) and then batting around in the fifth while scoring six runs for an 8-4 lead.
Tulare Western’s Ben Leon belted a run-scoring double, then came around on an RBI single by Exeter’s Zack Williams. Redwood’s Bo Rico followed with an RBI double bedford Gonzales plated two more with a double.
Pacing the West’s 12-hit attack was El Diamante’s Nick Senn (2-for-4 with a triple and run scored in the eighth). Eleven different West players had a hit, including Prendez. Also on the West roster was Orosi High’s Jerry Lopez, who entered the game in the sixth inning and went 1-for-3 with a run scored in the 10th and RBI groundout in the eighth.
Exeter’s Williams finished 2-for-2 with two runs scored and a stolen base while Monarchs teammate Carson Hughes pitched in relief. Lindsay’s Chavez took the pitching loss while the Cardinals’ Austin Schaible went 0-for-3 with a walk. Lindsay’s Brett Kendig was head coach for the East, assisted by his Cardinals staff and Woodlake High coach Juan Gamez.