The 46th annual South Bay Athletic Club Senior All-Star Game was a last chance for El Segundo seniors to compete on their home field, and for South Torrance seniors to play one last time together (and against each other) after the team’s controversial and heartbreaking ending to their CIF Southern Section Division 4 championship game.
It even provided a chance for Carson’s Ivan Cruz and San Pedro’s Louie Canjura to be on the same team and share the same dugout after the two teams had a nasty bench-clearing brawl earlier this season, and they got along just fine.
The game was about having fun, and players and coaches acted accordingly.
In the end the Blue All-Stars, led by the hitting of Mira Costa’s Luke Jelmini, San Pedro’s Cheech Pacheco and Redondo’s Brady Dorn, along with some fine pitching performances, defeated the Red All-Stars 6-3 on Friday night at El Segundo’s Recreation Park.
Pacheco had an RBI double to get things started for the Blue All-Stars in the first inning.
The Blue All-Stars, coached by Narbonne’s Bill Dillon and El Segundo’s Steven Eno, had a three-run second inning. Mira Costa’s Luke Jelmini singled and scored and Redondo’s Brady Dorn had an RBI single in the inning.
West Torrance’s Jackson Cooper had an RBI double in the sixth inning and Jelmini doubled and scored in the seventh for the Blue.
South’s Drake Pingel started for the Blue All-Stars and pitched two innings, allowing one run on two hits and three walks with two strikeouts.
Bishop Montgomery’s Liam Kent and Narbonne’s Jonathan Zaldivar each tossed two innings of scoreless relief for the Blue squad.
Redondo’s Duncan McKinnon had a big night for the Red All-Stars, slugging a solo home run to lead off the third inning. In the first inning, McKinnon singled, stole second, and scored on a single by Narbonne’s Daniel Rocha, who went 2 for 3 on the night.
In the fourth inning, St. Bernard’s Navari Julius had a bad-hop RBI single, which tied the score 3-3, before the Blue All-Stars pulled away.
South’s Nick Beardsley tossed three innings of shutout baseball for the Red All-Stars, and teammate Taylor Carmona, who usually plays third base, started in left field, then caught Beardsley.
It was all good relief after the title-game debacle.
“The highlight of my night was definitely catching Beardsley,” Carmona said. “I think he topped 91 (mph).”
Beardsley also struck out teammate Kawika Hubbell to get out of a jam.
It marked the last game at Recreation Park for El Segundo seniors like USC-bound Lars Nootbaar, Willem Mostert, Hunter Lewis and Noah Bergren. Nootbaar singled to lead off the game for the Blue All-Stars, Mostert and Bergren started for the Red and Lewis tossed a scoreless inning of relief for the Blue.
“It was a lot of fun to get the start at shortstop and to lead off like any other game, I didn’t want to go out with that loss in the playoffs to Redondo,” Nootbaar said. “Playing here one last time was something special, and it was great to get the win.”
Before the game it was announced that Hawthorne High coach Jeff Hines was stepping down after 23 years at the helm. Hines coached the Red All-Stars with Mira Costa coach Cassidy Olson. Hines will still teach at Hawthorne.
“It’s mainly due to family, wanting more time to spend with my kids,” Hines said.