East All-Stars Victorious in Hap Minor All-Star Game

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East & West All-Star teams together (Photo by Ross A. Benson)
East & West All-Star teams together (Photo by Ross A. Benson)
East & West All-Star teams together (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

By Rick Assad
Special to MyBurbank 

There were enough runs, hits, stellar pitching and a few errors to fill a notebook, but when Friday nights 7th through 9th grade Hap Minor All-Star Game concluded at Schafer Field, the East squad had flexed its muscles, proved too potent and prevailed, 14-3.

The City of Burbank’s first “Mid-Season Classic” was an instant success.

East All-Star team (Photo by Ross A. Benson)
East All-Star team (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The East All-Stars were ahead by four runs entering the bottom of the fifth, but erupted for seven runs to open up a huge lead that they would not relinquish.

It began innocently enough as the Sandoval Dodgers Elite’s Justin Palafox singled to right field off the Severo Indians’ Dustin Wilson. A two-base throwing miscue sent him to third base, and he scored on a passed ball.

Twelve more batters came to the plate, and six scored to put a relatively close contest out of reach.

“They played with a lot of spirit,” said East All-Star coach Raymond Pelafox, who manages the Sandoval Dodgers. “They played like All-Stars and gave 110 percent.”

Also key was a run-scoring infield hit by the Grimaldo Rangers’ Eric Gonzalez, and the Blue Jays’ Cristian Moreno’s two-run single to center field.

The Sandoval Dodgers Prospects’ Julian Valles walked with the bases loaded for a run, and the Sandoval Dodgers Prospects’ Ryan Wright delivered a run-scoring grounder.

The East All-Stars took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when the Sandoval Dodgers Elite’s Steven Villagran singled to left field. He advanced to second base on a single by the Grimaldo Rangers’ Brandon Martinez, went to third base on a fielder’s choice and scored on a fielder’s choice by the Sandoval Dodgers Elite’s Nathan Palafox.

“This game was a lot of fun, and a good experience,” said Martinez, who also had a run-scoring single to right field in the third inning, and was hit by a pitch in the fifth. “Baseball is my life. It means so much to me.”

A two-run, third inning by the East All-Stars made it 3-0 as Martinez singled in Wright, who opened the frame by drawing a walk. Villagran singled to left center with one out, moved to third base on Martinez’s hit, and scored on a balk.

Justin Palafox, who struck out three and walked one in the first inning to get the win, singled up the middle, stole second base, but was left stranded.

West All-Star team (Photo by Ross A. Benson)
West All-Star team (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The West All-Stars made it close by tallying two runs in the fourth as the Padres’ Joshua Alonzo walked and scored, as did the Burbank Royals’ Donovan Cunningham, who drew a base on balls and scored on an infield single by the Severo Indians’ Gabriel Pelot.

“They’re pretty evenly matched,” West All-Star coach and the Burbank Royals’ manager Randall Cunningham said. “All we can do is encourage them because they all have ability. Our job is to make sure their body gestures stay the same regardless of what the score is.”

The Nationals’ Henrik Buchanan walked with one out in the fifth inning, went to second base on a hit from the Redman Pirates’ Matthew Rothstein, scooted to third base on a single by the Severo Indians’ Ryan Roche, and came home on an error for the West All-Stars’ third run.

Wright took the hill in the top of the sixth inning and got the Burbank Royals’ Brandon Maldonado to hit a dribbler back to the box, the Nationals’ Christian Fajardo to bounce to shortstop and Wilson to hit back to mound which secured the victory.