East County Sports

Are Stars ready for NBCWS Prime Time?

Stars team members prior to Sunday's game.




East County Sports staff report

WICHITA, Kan (8-7-2018) — At times, San Diego Stars owner/manager Mickey Deutschman has held, let’s just say, different opinions with officials from the National Baseball Congress.

It came to a head when the Stars last appeared at the NBC World Series in 2013 when the Stars were handed a controversial forfeit on their opening game — which would’ve been Mickey D.’s 1,000th career victory.

Deutschman gained the milestone victory in the ballclub’s next NBCWS outing – a wild, walk-off triumph to eliminate the San Diego Force – then the Stars were themselves knocked out of the event on the next night to the Hays (Kan.) Larks.

And the Stars, although they’ve qualified for the NBC World Series, elected not to participate.

Five years later
, the Stars and Larks meet again in the most important pool play contest in Group C. Both sides are 1-1, so the winner advances to the “money round” and reach the knockout stage of the 84th annual event.

The loser? They go home.

So what did NBC officials do? They placed the contest in the prime time slot as the final of four games slated at historic Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, hoping to draw local fans to fill the stadium. Game time is 9:30 p.m. CT,  yet could likely start late due to the proliferation of runs – on Sunday, four contests produced 75 runs, including the Stars 16-8 run-rule win over the Clarinda (Iowa) A’s – due to the hot and humid conditions in south-central Kansas.

Meanwhile, Hays has reached the NBCWS championship game five times since 1995, yet have always finished as a bridesmaid by going 0-5 in the finale.

‘Catch’ the Fever

Part of the reasons for the Stars success in this summer’s tournament has been the play of their catchers through two games.

Incumbent Brady Joslyn ranks third among the batting leaders at .571 (4-for-7), with two runs and a pair of runs. He also batted .403 during the regular season.

However, the club leader is newcomer Emilio Escobedo, one of five players picked up for the Series.  The Rancho Bernardo High and Southern Nazarene University product went 2-for-3 in his lone appearance, but both hits were clutch to account for three RBI.

In between Escobedo and Joslyn in the Stars batting statistics is corner infielder Adrian “Ty” Andrews (.600), who was named Player of the Game for his four-RBI performance in Sunday’s win over Clarinda. And yes, by the way, Andrews is also a catcher.

And if things get desperate or in case of extra innings, third-string catcher Andrew Ritayik (son of Stars GM Kelly Ritayik) batted .500 in 14 official plate appearance during the summer. Should he get into an NBCWS game, the 16-year old would become one of the youngest participants in the event since World War II – next month, he becomes a junior at West Hills High.

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