Nine local seniors from Porterville and Monache High School joined together Saturday and played in the second annual Senior High School All-Star Baseball Challenge at Bakersfield College’s Gerry Collis Field.
The nine-inning game pitted top Central Valley seniors against the top ones from eight different Bakersfield schools. The Central Valley was made up of local players, as well as those from Tulare Western, Tulare Union, Redwood, My. Whitney, El Diamante and Hanford.
Both teams were scoreless after the first inning but Central Valley got on the board with two runs in the top of the second, one of them coming from Porterville’s Ricky Carranza, for a 2-0 lead.
The Bakersfield club got rolling in the bottom of the fourth and hit an RBI-single and RBI-double back-to-back to tie the score. Bakersfield then hit two straight RBI-doubles and took a 4-2 lead before Central Valley could get out of the inning.
In the sixth, the Central Valley loaded the bases with Hanford’s Clay Gillum reaching on an infield single and Porterville’s John Herrera and Santiago Sanchez drawing walks. A sacrifice fly followed by a two-run RBI-single from Monache’s Ricky Alba brought in all three baserunners and put the Central Valley back on top 5-4.
Bakersfield tied the score 5-5 in the seventh when a runner scored on a passed ball from Porterville pitcher Will Hipps. Then in the bottom eighth, Bakersfield hit an RBI-double to bring in the game-winning run.
Playing from Monache were pitcher Ricky Alba, shortstop Matthew Cloyd and first baseman Aaron Hernandez. Porterville’s players were shortstop Daniel Perez, second baseman Cameron Fish, center fielder Ricky Carranza, pitcher Will Hipps, catcher Santiago Sanchez and first baseman John Herrera.
The Central Valley was coached by Porterville head coach, Mike Hill. After the game, Hill said it was “awesome” getting to coach his seniors one last time.
“I love that group,” Hill said. “That senior group is pretty special. You can tell they haven’t played in awhile. But no they did alright. It was awesome, it was awesome. Bittersweet. I want to see them go on with their lives and be successful in whatever they do.”