Pitching dominates in Modesto Sunrise Rotary Baseball Classic

jcortez@modbee.comJune 14, 2014 

Pitchers dominated the hitters in a 5-0 East victory in the Modesto Sunrise Rotary Baseball Classic on Saturday night at John Thurman Field, and the anticipated all-star slugfest never materialized.

“They pitched real well,” said West coach Mark de la Motte, who coached Turlock High School to the Central California Conference title. “We had a few hits, but we couldn’t string anything together. They have some great hitters over there and this is a great event for high school baseball.”

What makes the event great is that it gives fans a chance to see what players at small schools can do against players from larger schools.

Case in point: Robert Garcia, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound left-hander who starred at Modesto Christian. He got the East off to a good start with a one-two-three, nine-pitch inning in which he fanned two CCC stalwarts – Alex Pallios of Turlock and Dakota Spillers of Pitman.

In two innings of work, Garcia allowed one hit – to Pitman’s Coleton Horner, who ended the season with a 26-game hitting streak – and five strikeouts. He was named Player of the Game from the East team. Johansen infielder Frankie Chavez was named the West’s top player.

“It’s a definite honor to start this game,” said Garcia, who fanned 102 batters in 55 innings of work this season. “I just came in with a game plan to pound the strike zone, throw strikes and stay within myself.”

The East got all the offense it would need in the bottom of the first. Gregori’s Tyler Janitz drew a one-out walk, stole second, then raced home on a single through the right side by Beyer’s Logan Smith.

The East added two more in its half of the fifth when Hughson’s Mike Herrera and Gregori’s Todd Stewart reached via single and walk with one away. Herrera would come around to score on an error and Stewart made it home on a bloop double down the right field line by Central Valley’s Raul Godinez.

The East’s final two runs came in the sixth and eighth – both in the same fashion.

Modesto Christian’s Mason Washington, who finished third in the Sac-Joaquin Section in hitting (.554), twice singled and stole second to put himself in scoring position. Each time, Enochs’ Michael McGhee took advantage and singled him in.

“You can always rely on Mason to make it home,” said McGhee of his speedy teammate, who was also fourth in the section in stolen bases (28).

Like de la Motte, East coach Mike Glines of Central Catholic was making his third appearance in the Classic.

“Heck, it was easy,” said Glines, who guided the Raiders to the Western Athletic Conference’s No. 1 playoff seed. “Me and Butter (Enochs coach Chris Butterfield) just sat here and didn’t do anything.”

Glines, de la Motte and the rest of the coaching staffs had plenty do after the game as they tried to determine which players will make up a combined squad for the annual Merced-Stanislaus County All-Star Game next weekend at Merced College.

Bee staff writer Joe Cortez can be reached at jcortez@modbee.com or (209) 578-2380. Follow him on Twitter @ModBeePreps.

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