County bats falls to City pitching
Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
The 52nd annual City/County All-Star Baseball game featured seven players from Madera and Madera South. From left are Christian Chavira, Caleb Bertoncini, Brixton Gomes, Juan Carlos Gonzales, Brian Hefner, Jeremy Flores and Tony Noriega.
FRESNO — A gluttony of quality City pitching arms held the County bats at bay for a 4-0 victory in the 52nd annual City/County All-Star Baseball Game at Fresno’s Chukchansi Park.
City pitchers limited the County bats to just four hits, none after the fifth inning. They also struck out 12 County batters. Justin Fuson (San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno) was the winning pitcher, tossing a perfect third inning.
Madera South’s Carlos Gonzales was the losing pitcher after allowing a solo home run to the game’s Most Valuable Player, Buchanan’s Evan Rocha.
Caleb Bertoncini (Madera South) got the start for the County and got the team off to a good start with a perfect top of the first, which included two strikeouts. He also had a single in his only at bat.
“I was nervous in the bullpen,” he said. “I couldn’t throw strikes. It was game time when I went to the mound and I felt good, but the second batter scared me a little bit. It was nice to get a hit, especially after seeing the same guy in league three times. It felt pretty good. It was really fun. There were a lot of nerves, but it was a good experience.”
Madera’s Christian Chavira had a single for the County in his only at-bat. Teammate Brixton Gomes was named the team’s Most Inspirational Player. He also threw a 1-2-3 inning, inducing an inning-ending double play after yielding a single.
“I felt pretty good out there,” he said. “It’s a lot different because when I came in, I had to throw strikes right away. It’s the same field. You go in and throw strikes. That’s my specialty — to get out of trouble.
“I thought getting the award was pretty cool. I just try to be another one of the boys, play baseball and do my hardest to get a win. It was really fun. There was a lot of competition and showed the county’s potential. There were a lot of players that show the same passion to play baseball.”
Bertoncini opened the game with a strikeout of Clovis North’s Garrett Cooper. He got a long flyout from Chase Prieto (Clovis West) for the second out and struck out James Bell (Clovis North) to end the inning.
Gonzales popped out to second in his only at bat in the bottom of the second inning.
In the top of the third, Gomes got a flyout to center from Edison-Fresno’s Eric Romero. Casey Durham (Clovis East) singled to right, but Cooper hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Gonzales took the mound in the top of the fourth and got Nick Castro (Clovis West) to pop out and Danny Gamez (Clovis East) to fly out. However, he left a pitch over the strike one and Rocha sent it into the left field bleachers for a solo home run.
Gonzales got out of the inning by getting Josh Pletz (San Joaquin Memorial) to pop out.
In the bottom of the fourth, the County put two runners on, including Bertoncini’s single, but a groundout ended the inning against Bullard-Fresno’s Jared Villalobos.
The City got to Coyotes’ ace Brian Hefner. He hit the first batter he faced on the first pitch of the inning. He walked Garrett Fuller (San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno), but struck out Ryan Seta (Hoover-Fresno).
Caden Lyons (Clovis) singled to right to drive in a run. Hefner got Jacob Topete (Fresno) to hit into a forceout, but Nick Castro (Clovis West) singled to right to drive in Fuller for the second run on the inning. Sierra-Tollhouse’s Zach Dennis came in relief and ended the inning with a flyout.
Chavira started a two-out rally in the botom of the fifth with a single to right. He went to second on a single from Reedley’s Justin Lopez, but a strikeout ended the threat.
City added another run in the top of the ninth with a single, stolen base and single. Madera South’s Jeremy Flores had a chance to throw out the runner at the plate, but the County catcher missed the relay throw, allowing the run to score.
Clovis West’s Dusty Schramm walked the first batter he saw, but retired the next three batters to secure the victory.