STOCKTON — Buddy Reeder was part of a wild come-from-behind victory the last time he was on the same field with former Manteca High teammates Lucas Vaughn and Michael Garibay.
The trio helped the Buffaloes capture their first Sac-Joaquin Section baseball title last month with a 7-6 victory over Vista del Lago in the Division IV championship game.
On Friday, they were among the nine area graduates selected to represent the South team in the 24th Annual High School All-Star Classic held at the University of the Pacific’s Klein Family Field. The North prevailed 4-2 in the 13-inning marathon.
There would be no dramatic comeback this time.
“Yeah, I thought we were going to come back in the end,” said Reeder, who will continue his playing career at Modesto Junior College. “With the Sierra and Manteca players combined, we’re all pretty good hitters.”
Reeder was on-deck when the final out was made. Hitting before him was Vaughn, who blasted a shot that went directly to the center fielder. Sierra standout Dakota Conners, who is heading to Cal State East Bay, drew a one-out walk in the final frame but was left stranded at second.
Reeder went 2 for 2 and scored the game’s first run in the second inning while splitting time at catcher. Garibay’s RBI single in the third gave the South an early 2-0 lead. Vaughn, who held the section’s best record at 12-0, pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
Conners started at shortstop and was the hard-luck losing pitcher, as he logged 2 2/3 relief innings and struck out two while yielding one hit. He surrendered two unearned runs aided by three errors in the top half of the 13th.
Tracy pinch-runner Braeden Oki plated the go-ahead run and was driven home on Averey Kolomvotos’ (Chavez) fielder’s choice.
Fellow Timberwolves Jake Pruitt and Kyle Oden joined Conners on the South.
“Tonight was about having fun and doing something for the community, but we were still competing,” Conners said. “It was still a competitive game and we were all in it to win it.
“It was fun being out here meeting a lot of new people I had never played with or against, and I had one last game with Kyle and Jake. We have been playing together since Little League so it was cool.”
It was also a reunion of rivals as Buffaloes and Timberwolves got together with a common goal. Manteca beat runner-up Sierra for its first Valley Oak League title in 29 years on the final day of the regular season. Garibay, Oden, Pruitt and Vaughn are trying out for the Delta College baseball team next year.
“It’s kind of weird because we’re rivals, but we’ve been playing together since we were little kids so it was pretty fun getting together for this,” Reeder said.
The South used four different catchers, all representing area teams. Pruitt got the start behind the plate and was followed by Reeder, Charles Garcia of Lathrop and Weston Ranch’s Cody Simerley. Lathrop’s Carlos Estrada was also selected to participate but was unable to make the game.
Garcia enjoyed getting to play his last baseball game in the Valley before heading out to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. He said he plans on trying out for the baseball team there.
“It was a good experience getting to play with and against players of this caliber,” Garcia said. “I haven’t been around that much talent in a long time, so it gives me an idea of what I’ll be seeing in college.”