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Ripons Andrews plates winning run for North
Lathrop Highs Armando Perez runs to his position at third base, and Jake Souza of Sierra heads to second as the South team takes the field. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

STOCKTON — Ripon High shortstop Jarrod Andrews made the defensive play of the game, and it was he who scored the final run to end the 25th Annual High School All-Star Baseball Classic at Delta College’s Nick Cecchetti Field on Friday.

Andrews started the bottom of the 10th inning on second base with coaches staffs from both teams agreeing to implement the international tiebreaker rule. The North wasted little time, as Andrews successfully stole third and then jolted home with the throw from the catcher sailing wide.

“That’s on the (third-base coach),” Andrews said. “He told me to not look back and go and it gave us the win.

The North won 7-6 despite committing four errors and getting outhit, 10-4. All of its other runs were plated in the second inning as South pitcher Cade Peters of St. Mary’s struggled with his command. These games have been competitive in recent years. The 2014 showcase of the region’s top seniors ended in the 13th inning with the North prevailing 4-2, and three of the previous four from 2009-12 were decided by three runs or less.

Joining Andrews on the winning team were fellow Indians Brandon Scott and Luke Robison. Ripon Christian’s Danny Vander Molen earned an invite but did not shot.

“I was excited to play in an all-star game,” Andrews said. “I just wanted to play my heart out because this is the last game I’m going to play.”

Andrews certainly went out in style. He played shortstop in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings with Robison manning the second-base position. In the top of the fourth, he robbed Allen Santos of a hit with a sterling grab while sliding on his knees toward third base. Still on his knees, he gunned down Santos at first for the final out.

“I just got lucky, I guess,” Andrews said.

Scott pitched the sixth inning, striking out two but hitting one batter while allowing an RBI single. He also got time at first base and right field.

Sierra had the biggest group among area schools with four competing for the South: pitchers Jakob Gallagher and Leo Soto, catcher Jake Souza and center fielder Ryan Vasquez. The quartet led the Timberwolves to their first Valley Oak League championship since 2001, and they advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III semifinals.

“It’s a (testament) to the program,” Gallagher said. “It’s an amazing program that develops its players and we had a great season.”

Souza, the VOL’s Most Valuable Player, aggravated a knee injury while running out of the batter’s box in the first inning. He left the game early to tend to the injury.

Vasquez was beaned in his first plate appearance in the second and scored the game’s first run on Kash Satnat’s (Escalon) base hit. Soto, heading to San Diego Christian University, fanned two batters and walked one in the third inning.

Gallagher belted a double in the third inning but did not score. He also pitched a perfect ninth with a pair of strikeouts. Gallagher, Souza and Vasquez plan to continue playing at Modesto Junior College.

“It was fun and that’s what it’s all about,” Gallagher said of the event. “It was cool to meet new people and develop new relationships. I also got to play with my teammates again. These are my brothers, man. I’d go to battle with these guys any day.”

Armando Perez of Lathrop contributed a base hit up the middle for the South. Weston Ranch’s Steven Jasper and Andrew Paden combined to draw three walks. One of Paden’s walks drove in a run.

A player of each team was awarded a $500 scholarship courtesy of United Way of San Joaquin County for their outstanding play: Bear Creek’s Justin Kottinger from the North and Satnat for the South.