South prevails in back-and-forth All-Star Classic
STOCKTON — An evening to showcase the region’s best prep baseball seniors during the 29th annual All-Star Classic was celebrated just a little bit more by the South squad as it walked off winners Friday at Delta College’s Nick Cecchetti Field.
The game featured four lead changes before the dust settled with an 11-7 South win. South coach Stephen Gatehouse, of Mountain House, said it was a chance for so much talent to take the field one last time.
“They’ve been talking about wanting to win and everything but to have fun while doing it, too,” Gatehouse said. “There’s definitely some highquality kids here, as well as some characters that keep everybody loose.”
Los Banos hurler Kody Cardoza’s 111 strikeouts, 0.76 ERA and a statebest 13 wins, earned him the start for the South.
“It’s a neat chance to come to Stockton and show the other schools what Los Banos is all about,” said Cardoza. “It’s nice being able to play on a different team and with people I don’t really know.”
Bear Creek’s Bradlee Preap led off the top of the second inning being hit by a pitch, and later scored on an errant throw to first base for an early North lead. The South answered when Colton Duke, of Millennium, delivered a double into the gap and he later tied the game at 1-1 on a single by Tracy’s Brentley Bergmann.
The North reclaimed the lead in the third when Robert Blachly walked and eventually scored on a pair of passed balls. St. Mary’s Anthony Hernandez singled and later scored on a single by Bear Creek’s Troy Melendez for a 3-1 advantage.
The South scored three runs for a 43 lead in the bottom of the fourth as Jacob Vales and Andres DeLeon, both of Mountain House, reached on a single and fielding error, respectively. Vales scored on a wild pitch before Lathrop’s Matt Julien doubled in DeLeon and Los Banos’ Trent Mallonee.
The North struck back with two runs after four consecutive walks and a throwing error attempting to get the final out at second base. McNair’s Michael Tennis alertly rushed home from third for a 5-4 lead.
The South responded with five runs in the bottom of the sixth on two hits and four walks to stake a 9-5 lead. In the eighth, Venture Academy’s Chris Tabin singled in two runs to complete the scoring for the North.
For St. Mary’s pitcher Nathan Nordell, who started for the North, it was fun to make more memories.
“This is nice to be a part of,” Nordell said. “It’s one last game with all my friends, to have a good time and make it count. Everyone around here is a good ballplayer.”
North coach Joe Piombo Jr., of Venture Academy, agreed.
“It doesn’t surprise me because a lot of the kids, we hear the names over the years,” Piombo said. “It’s nice to see so much talent in one dugout.”