There’s not much time for players competing in Saturday’s 25th annual Modesto Sunrise Rotary Baseball Classic to meet their teammates.
The East and West all-stars will hold their first practices tonight, and then three days later it’ll be time to play ball.
First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. at John Thurman Field.
Turlock High coach Mark de la Motte, who coached the West in the inaugural game back in 1990, will be making his third appearance as manager.
“It’s a great game and a great experience for the managers,” said de la Motte, who remembers that his Turlock High team, led by Steve Soderstrom (who would go on to play at Fresno State and with the San Francisco Giants), lost the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I final to Elk Grove, then had to drive back and play in the Classic that night. “But I really don’t know much about a lot of the players, other than what I’ve heard.”
De la Motte’s West squad is made up of players from Big Valley Christian, Davis, Downey, Johansen, Modesto, Orestimba, Patterson, Pitman, Riverbank and Turlock. The East All-Stars are comprised of players from Beyer, Central Catholic, Central Valley, Ceres, Enochs, Gregori, Hughson, Modesto Christian, and Waterford.
Central Catholic’s Mike Glines and Enochs’ Chris Butterfield will team up to coach the East.
“When you play in a certain league, you read about and hear about kids in other leagues but never get to see them,” said Glines, who is also making his third appearance as coach in this game. “This gives you the chance to compare the ability and athleticism of your kids to other kids.”
Organizers of the Classic have put together a talented group that compiled some impressive numbers during the season.
• Pitman catcher Coleton Horner of the West team finished his junior season with a hit in every single game (26). That gives him an active hitting streak, and a chance at the state record (46) beginning in 2015. And while his streak won’t officially be on the line Saturday, you can bet that opposing pitchers would like to be able to say they held the all-star hitless.
• Modesto Christian grad Mason Washington, who helped the Crusaders’ basketball team to a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship in the winter, hit a staggering .554 (31-for-56) in the spring. That was third best mark in the section this season, regardless of division (Big Valley Christian’s Jimmy McClenaghan led the section at .591, but only graduated seniors and seniors-to-be are eligible for the Classic). Washington was also fourth in the section with 28 stolen bases.
• Hughson junior Lane Cobb was fourth among all Sac-Joaquin Section underclassmen in runs batted with 32, while Oakdale’s Bryce Dyrda was tied for 21st overall (29).
• Robert Garcia, Modesto Christian’s 6-foot-3, 210-pound pitcher/first baseman, was third in the section in strikeouts with 102 (Dyrda was seventh with 98) and 16th in earned run average with his 0.89 mark. He also hit .369 with 27 RBIs (top 40 in the section) and four homers (tied for seventh in the section).
• Turlock’s Blake Cederlind, Ceres’ Alan Marquez and Beyer’s Micah Hall were tied for ninth in the section with eight wins apiece.
Gates open Saturday at 5 p.m. and admission is $5. Fans can win prizes between innings and player awards will be presented after the game.
The Modesto Sunrise Rotary Baseball Classic has raised more than $200,000, all of which gets donated back to Stanislaus County baseball programs over the past two decades.