Lots of hitting on display at prep baseball All-Star Game

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                </div>There’s a logical expectation of getting to watch lots of power at the plate when you go to a baseball All-Star game.  That’s part of the draw for the event, […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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There’s a logical expectation of getting to watch lots of power at the plate when you go to a baseball All-Star game.  That’s part of the draw for the event, even at the high-school level.

In that case, this year’s edition of the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association All-Star game over the weekend did not disappoint.  Actually, make that three games since teams from Divisions I through III got a chance to compete at their respective levels.

High school players from all over the state descended on Surprise Stadium for the annual event and, when the dust settled Saturday night, a total of 64 runs had been scored, with one game featuring 21 hits from just one team.

The South came from behind to win the Division I contest, 8-5, but it was the North that prevailed in Division II with a 16-10 victory and in Division III with an 18-7 slugfest that was anybody’s game to win through five innings.

In the Division I game, Ben Rodriguez, the catcher from Desert Mountain High School, put his North team ahead right away with a two-run homer to left-center in the first inning.  The South tied it up, 2-2, by punching home runs in the second and fourth inning, but the North got the lead back in the sixth on an inside-the-park home run by Ryan Joyce from Boulder Creek High School, a double by Preston Ryan from McClintock High, and a single from Ismael Bracamontes from Cesar Chavez High.  Ryan finished the night with two doubles.

The South tied it back up again at 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh, powered by a run-scoring single by Brock Hale of Mesa High, and then added two more runs in the eighth to secure the win.

Tyler Viza didn’t enter the game until the eighth inning, but was named the game’s MVP.  The right-handed pitcher from Desert Vista High School took the mound in the top of the eighth, the end of a string of six pitchers the South used, and struck out two batters in the eighth to retire the side 1-2-3 and then struck out two more in the ninth, but gave up an unearned run off two errors by his teammates.

His only trip to the plate came in the bottom of the ninth, with the game already decided and the extra three outs added to give fans a little something extra because it was a special event.  He singled in his only appearance.

In the Division II contest… the North established its dominance early by jumping out to a 15-0 lead, compiled in large part by a three-run outburst in the fourth inning and then a downpour of 10 runs in the sixth highlighted by a grand-slam home run by Max Schuman from Arcadia High.

The South made it a game when it scored eight runs on six hits in the seventh inning, but couldn’t climb back into a game that had gotten away from them and the North wrapped up the 16-10 victory.

Brick Paskiewicz of Sunrise Mountain High School, who notched a pair of doubles and finished with five RBIs, was named the game MVP.

In Division III… the North moved into an early 3-0 lead in the first inning and then added three more runs in the fifth to establish a lead that would hold for the eventual 18-7 win.  The North players collected 21 hits along the way.

The MVP award went to Tyler Herndon, the senior outfielder from Mingus High School in Cottonwood, who drove in three runs to help his North squad to the win.

Kevin Spencer was the winning pitcher and Matt Farrar was credited with the save.  Both are from Blue Ridge High School in Lakeside.