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All-Star Classic reaches 25th year
14 area grads playing in June 19 event
All-Star Baseball Softball Classic file 1 5-2-15
Jakob Gallagher of Sierra swings at the offering during a Valley Oak League contest against Lathrop on May 2. - photo by HIME ROMERO/ The Bulletin

Cherish Burks, Darian Van Der Maaten, Leo Soto and 11 other recent graduates from the Manteca area will don their high school jerseys one last time.

They’ve been selected to participate in the 25th annual High School All-Star Baseball-Softball Classic on Friday, June 15 at Delta College.

The event honors some of the most accomplished graduating seniors from over 30 schools in San Joaquin County, the Mother Lode and Los Banos.

Burks helped East Union’s softball team win Valley Oak League and Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championships last month. The outstanding center fielder and leadoff hitter will represent the Lancers once again before heading out to Oregon.

She’s joined by four other area standouts on the South team: Sierra catcher Tayler Moss, Ripon second baseman Darian Van Der Maaten and Ripon Christian’s Brianna DeJong and Pam Radach. Moss played a big part in Sierra’s run to the SJS Division IV title, the Timberwolves’ third in the last five years. Van Der Maaten, who is bound for UC San Diego, spearheaded Ripon to its first section-final appearance in Division V.

The South softball team will be guided by Ripon Christian head coach Lenny Rizzuto, along with his assistants Crystal Rodrigues and Reggie Santa Elena, and Kimball head coach Joseph Hernandez.

Baseball all-stars from the area are split. Four players from Sierra’s VOL championship club will play for the South. Two-time all-VOL first-team pitcher Soto, who recently signed with San Diego Christian University, leads the charge along with batterymate and league MVP Jake Souza, four-year varsity center fielder Ryan Vasquez and pitcher/outfielder Jakob Gallagher. Lathrop infielder Armando Perez will team up with the Sierra quartet.

On North squad from Ripon High are pitcher Brandon Scott and middle infielders Jarrod Andrews and Luke Robison. Ripon Christian pitcher/second baseman Danny Vander Molen is also on the North. He’s a two-sport all-star after participating in the 20th annual Six County All-Star Classic in Modesto on May 1.

All teams will practice Wednesday, June 17 starting 5 p.m. at Delta College.

The All-Star Baseball-Softball Classic begins at 4:45 p.m. with opening ceremonies for the baseball game at Nick Cecchetti Field. Opening ceremonies for softball will follow about a half hour later at Bucky Layland Field.

Advance ticket sales are available through local baseball and softball programs. Admission at the gate is $5. Children ages 8 and under are free. Proceeds will benefit participating high schools, Recreational Sports Club of San Joaquin and United Way of San Joaquin County.