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Acosta stands out in all-star event
Manteca High graduate Ricky Acosta slides toward the third-base bag, stretching his leadoff single in the bottom of the first inning after the right fielder misplayed his hit. Acosta was 3 for 3 to lead the North team, which lost 13-10, in the 19th Annual High School All-Star Baseball-Softball Classic at Delta College. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
STOCKTON — Recent Manteca High graduate Ricky Acosta restrained himself from throwing his helmet in the bottom of the eighth inning after his bases-loaded double led to just one run no thanks to base running mishap ahead of him.

And his shoulders slumped in the top of the ninth while a two-run shot floated over the center-field fence for the opposing South team, representing the dagger thrusted in the backs of the North, which lost, 13-10.

There were supposed to be no losers in the 19th Annual High School All-Star Baseball-Softball Classic, which showcases the top graduating talent from San Joaquin County and parts of Stanislaus County, at the Delta College Sports Complex Friday.

But Acosta was in it to win it.

“I always want to win any time I play, even if it’s just an exhibition game,” Acosta said. “I’m always mad when I lose, but I did what I could.”

In the softball game, the South, featuring three former Sierra High players, fought back from an early 4-0 deficit to win, 9-7.
Acosta, one of 16 area athletes selected to partake in the event, started off with a bang. He started at shortstop and helped turn an inning-ending double play in the first, and he led off the bottom half with a first-pitch single that was misplayed in right field, allowing him to slide to third base uncontested.

The two-time all-Valley Oak League first-team member finished 3 for 3, but he has no victory or scholarship, awarded to the supposed most outstanding player from each squad, to show for it. The scholarship instead went to Lincoln High standout Jordan Enos from the North, and Riley Goulding of West from the South.

All in all, Acosta was honored just to be a part of it.

“It was cool, you know,” he said. “I’ve been playing with a lot of these guys for a while, so I just wanted to come out and show everyone what I can do.”

Ripon’s Francisco Gustin (2 for 2) and Kyle Wagner (double) joined Acosta on the North team, and East Union star Wade Morten got the start at catcher.

Weston Ranch’s Chris Fleckenstein led area players for the South, going 1 for 1 with a walk and a run. Sierra’s Andy Scott and Jordan Louie each pitched an inning in relief.

Sierra grad Karissa Valdez contributed a double for the triumphant South softball team. She was joined by former teammates Monica Morado and Heather Scharmann, along with Ripon Christian’s Sarah Nieweg.

East Union’s Rochelle Sellers crushed a double and plated a run for the North, and fellow Lancer Ally Palluck logged two innings from the pitcher’s circle. Alicia Cook, also of East Union, was invited to play but did not because of injury.

Manteca’s Trina Solario and Weston Ranch’s Angelysa Washington were also named all-stars but were unable to attend.

North pitcher Morgan Hayes of Tracy and St. Mary’s Cheryl Freitas, who slugged the go-ahead home run in the sixth to make it 8-7, were the scholarship winners.