Baseball: East, West ready for one more showdown

Strong pitching leads East team into All-Star Game on Saturday, June 15


TULARE COUNTY – The 59th annual East-West High School All-Star Baseball game is slated for Saturday, June 15, at Recreation Park where 25 high schools from Tulare, Kings, and Kern counties will be represented when the first pitch is thrown at 7 p.m.

Monache’s A.J. Watts will be head coach of the East squad. He saw his Marauders make it to the Division IV Valley Championship where they lost 4-1 to the Chowchilla Tribe. Monache won the Visalia Invitational’s Small School Championship 6-2 over their East Yosemite League rival, the Mission Oak Hawks.

“It’s going to be a fun night,” Watts said. “Good years are created by some good players. And this year we had some that really stuck together.”

Watts will have a strong group looking to bring home bragging rights, including a well-developed pitching corps from the foothills area.

Jaykob Acosta will be one of three Monarchs taking part in the game which originated in Exeter. The D-I commit to CSU Bakersfield went 4-6 last season while throwing a 1.32 ERA. He struck out a total of 88 batters.

Sal Briones and Bryson Montano will be joining Acosta in the game.

Montano was one of seven Monarchs to end the season with a batting average over .300. He scored 22 runs and knocked in another 14 RBIs.

Briones ended his career with the Monarchs batting .284. He scored 24 runs and 22 RBIs.

Woodlake’s Robby Stevenson will see some time on the mound as well. In 14 appearances as a senior he went 4-4 and had a 1.49 ERA.

Lindsay’s Julio Godoy might be called in from the outfield to pitch. He went 2-3 in 10 appearances last season.

Noah Vasquez will be representing the Farmersville Aztecs. Last season, he had the second-highest batting average for the Aztecs at .242.

Corcoran’s Mike Pankratz will be the head coach of the West squad. Pankratz led the Panthers to a second-place finish in the East Sequoia League behind the Sierra Pacific Golden Bears. Corcoran advanced to the Division V semifinals, but lost 12-0 to the Liberty Hawks.

Golden West’s Andrew Browning will start with a stealer West Yosemite League lineup. He finished his senior season with the Blazers with a .261 batting average. Defensively, he had a near perfect fielding percentage of .917. He had 33 put outs with three errors.

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