By Tom Price Jr.
After the West squad completed a three-year sweep of the annual East-West All Star Baseball Game from 1998-2000, the two teams alternated wins with the East squad winning last year.
The West team entered this year's game looking like they expected destiny to play the game for them and the East looked to break the trend with solid pitching and timely hitting. And they did just that blowing out the West team 11-2.
Winning pitcher, Exeter's Mike Pendleton, set the tone for the East side starting the game on the mound and going three strong innings surrendering just two hits and no runs. Monache's Vince Herrera drove in the games first for the East delivering a one-out single to right field plating leadoff hitter Del Jones from Tulare Western.
Pendleton was lifted after setting the West down in order in the third inning. Because each team has 18-20 players pitchers are only allowed to throw three innings.
The East scored again in the third inning and began pulling away with two more in the fourth inning.
The West team's last shot to get back in the game was snatched away by Carlos Gastelum of Exeter who entered the game in the fifth inning at second base. With the bases loaded and two outs, Gastelum made a diving stop and flipped the ball to second forcing out the runner to end the inning.
Gastelum turned right around and finished off the West squad with a two RBI single into left field that extended the East's lead to 6-1. The East team added five runs in the final two innings to complete the blowout.
Monache's Doug West ended up taking home the game's Most Valuable Player trophy after driving in three runs with two singles and a double. He also pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Late subs Brian Rios and Noe Orozco from Lindsay each found their way on base. Rios walked and scored a run and Orozco was hit by a pitch and was later thrown out at third base trying to advance on a ball in the dirt.
Exeter catcher Casey Wightman had a single in his first at bat and Josh Rojas from Woodlake was 2-for-2.