East County Sports

Not extreme, yet first-place Stars are good enough

Jeremiah Barr
2017 SAN DIEGO STARS BASEBALL

By Nick Pellegrino
Special to East County Sports

SANTEE (7-14-2017) -The San Diego Stars attempted to play baseball utilizing a tactic often deployed by the visiting San Diego (Poway) Crush. Well, not to the same extreme, yet the Stars proved to be successful anyway.

The Crush have been known to move 8 or even 9 (one per inning) different pitchers in a contest, so the Stars intentionally used four pitchers, with all three arms coming out of the bullpen going two frames each to drop the Crush, 6-2, Thursday (July 13) at West Hills High.
Headed by three solid frames from starting pitcher Clayton Lewis, the quartet stepped up to strand 11 runners on base, as the trio out of the bullpen — Mike Horton, Jeremiah Barr and Marco Bautista – combined to strike out seven batters in the Western Baseball Association contest.
The Stars (19-6 overall) moved to 11-5 in the WBA South.  They are even with the West Coast Clippers (12-6) in the Games Behind category, yet lead in winning percentage; they also moved a half-game ahead of the San Diego Waves (8-3).
Meanwhile, the Crush (7-10) were mathematically eliminated as only seven positions players arrived for the Stars game, forcing an assistant coach to fill out the lineup card. Thus, the Stars completed a 5-game, season sweep of the Crush, including all four WBA games plus a tournament elimination ballgame.
The offense of the Stars was fueled by two hits each from Ryan Culp and newcomer Jose Alexander, while Hank Gonzalez lined a home run to open the scoring.
Gonzales lined a shot to right field to quickly tie the game in the 2nd inning. Culp followed with a 1-out single, while by a double by Alexander in his first Stars at-bat. Gonzales then came home when a ground ball off the bat of Shawn Knutson was booted at deep short, yet still good for the RBI.
An inning later, Alexander followed with another double
Also making his Stars debut was reserve third baseman Andrew Ritayik, the son of Stars general manager Kelly Ritayik. He went 0-for-1, yet did equal a Stars record as one of two 15-year-olds (Jesse Jenner) to ever play for the ballclub.
The Stars return to action next week, facing the Waves at Escondido High on Tuesday.

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