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Defense saves South team

Durrer’s catch seals win; Drain named MVP

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Defense saves South team

Weston Ranch’s C.J. Drain singled and scored a run in the first inning for the South and received his team’s MVP award.

Photo by SEAN KAHLER/


POSTED June 17, 2017 12:52 a.m.

STOCKTON — Ripon’s Andrew Durrer saved the best for last.
With the tying run for the North at the plate and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Durrer had to race into the left-field corner and make a diving catch to kill a two-run rally and save a 10-8 win for the South in the 27th Annual High School Baseball Classic at Delta College’s Nick Cecchetti Field.
“He pieced it down the line,” Durrer said. “I started running my hardest and right before it dropped I lunged and I got it.
“For a second I thought maybe it was going to go foul and then I saw it was going to stay in. Right when I went to lunge I knew I had it.”
Weston Ranch’s C.J. Drain — who was voted MVP for the South — helped Manteca pitcher Andrew Brunn to a 1-2-3 inning in the second. After a leadoff single, Drain fielded a hard grounder at second to start a 6-4-3 double play with Sierra’s Jesse Babauta at second. Drain dove to cut off a grounder from the next batter and got up in time to get the ball to Lathrop’s David Lopez at first.
“I just did what I usually do,” Brunn said. “Keep them nice and low and paint those corners.
“Drain made some good plays out there and when you have good defense you just let them work.
Even with Brunn out the game, the defensive trio from the Valley Oak League came through. With North runners on first and second with no out in the third, Drain again initiated a 6-4-3 double play which spearheaded another shutout inning.
“I was just trying to stay focused,” Babauta said. “Drain started those double plays. I want to give credit to him and I am glad I was able to finish them.”
Drain did not limit his defensive prowess to shortstop. He threw a strikeout in a shutout fifth inning, allowing just a walk and had the third out of the inning when he stabbed a hard-hit grounder and fielded it to first.
Babauta also threw a shutout inning, getting a strikeout in the sixth and Ripon’s Jack Mayer threw a perfect seventh, netting a strikeout.  
“I love throwing against high-caliber people like this,” Mayer said. “Everyone is here for a reason.
“They did well in all their leagues and I feel I do my best when I pitch against the best.”  
Lopez banged out an RBI double in a four-run seventh, helping the South to a 9-5 lead.
“I was just trying to keep it simple and move the runner over,” Lopez said. “I just got the pitch that I wanted.
“On the double plays I was just trying to do my job and not mess up on those and just catch them.”
The VOL played a big part of a four-run first for the South. Manteca’s Joel Olmos reached on an error and took second on Drain’s first-pitch solid single to left. Babauta advanced them both 90 feet on a groundout and both eventually came in to score.
Doug Hayes of Manteca and Ray Salazar of Lathrop coached for the South.

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