BENICIA — Although there was a fun atmosphere in the air, with all competitions, there had to be a winner.
The Monticello Empire League all-stars came out on top over the Solano County Athletic Conference stars at Fitzgerald Field in Benicia, Monday, scoring early and holding for a 6-2 win to wrap up the high school baseball season.
Arid pitching helped the MEL strike first in the top of the second as Vacaville’s Pancho Ivie was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, scoring his teammate Cory McGuire. Napa’s Sam Dearden was the next batter and was also hit, moving everyone up a bag, scoring his teammate Alex Huntslinger.
Will C. Wood’s Cody Marshall hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Rodriguez’s Richard Lindsey, who walked earlier in the inning. The last run of the inning came when the Bulldogs’ Tanner Donaldson singled in Ivie.
The next two runs came in the top of third as the Wildcats’ Tyler Bailer doubled in the Mustangs’ Anthony Kaleczyc. Armijo’s Chris Parodi then scored on a fielder’s choice after being hit by a pitch.
Vacaville coach Abe Hobbs coached the MEL team and said games like this are really fun.
“It’s nice for these kids that have been competing against each other for years to be able to get together like this,” Hobbs said. “It’s always fun to get the win, but this game isn’t about that. It’s about these guys just going out and playing.”
It took four innings, but the SCAC team scored its first run in the bottom of the fourth, all thanks to Benicia’s Matt Brown.
In his first at-bat of the season as a senior – on the first pitch he saw – Brown hit triple down the right field line. He ended up scoring on the ensuing pitch, called safe on a play at the plate on a passed ball from Rodriguez pitcher Raymond Villegas.
Villegas was not rocked by the score, getting the next two outs and ending the night with three strikeouts in two innings.
“I’m really honored to be here,” Villegas said. “I’ve been through Little League, worked my way up through travel ball, and now I’m here. . . . It was a very good experience and these guys are awesome. Everyone was fun and lose.”
Normal cross-town rival, but this time around, teammate, was Armijo’s David Hostler, who made his trip to the mound to finish the game.
He struck out the first batter and gave up a single to American Canyon’s Brandon Lew on the next at-bat. The defense behind Hostler was all-star quality as they turned a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
Hobbs said he knew Hostler would be pitching on the back-end of the game.
“He’s a strike-thrower and aggressive. He did a really good job finishing it up,” Hobbs said.
Hostler said he was very honored to be in the game and loved playing with the team. He added it felt good to go out and end the game with fellow Armijo senior, Parodi, who was behind the plate for the final outs.
The MEL scattered seven hits in the game, while walking six. The SCAC combined for five hits with one walk.