East County Sports

Dog days: Stars suffer first loss


By Nick Pellegrino

East County Sports staff writer
BARONA INDIAN RESERVATION (6-17-2019) – After the San Diego Stars established a franchise record with their 18th consecutive victory last season, a pitcher named Jon Sintes ended the remarkable run by firing a 1-hit shutout during a National Baseball Congress World Series qualifying tournament.

Stars owner/manager Mickey Deutschman immediately knew what needed to be done.

In his best impression of the famous “I’d rather fight than switch” television commercial from the 1970s, Mickey D. did the next-best thing possible: he recruited Sintes to pitch for the Stars.

The long-awaited return by Sintes to Stars Field came Sunday (June 16), as the 33-year old carried a shutout into the 7th inning while equally a franchise record for strikeouts, as Sintes dominated the Southern California Gorillas, 9-3, in the first game of a Western Baseball Association doubleheader.

The Stars mounted an early 9-0 lead before the Gorilla posted a trio of cosmetic runs in the late innings in a complete-game effort by Sintes.

“Luke (Arias, the catcher), Sam (Hughes, the interim skipper) and I were in synch on pitch selection all afternoon,” said Sintes, “I never needed to shake off a sign and just kept throwing strikes.”

Strikes? How about enough strikes to equal the Stars’ all-time record with 19 strikeouts.

“I just got ahead of hitters so they never really knew what pitch I would throw next,” he added.

As far as Hughes was concerned, the 20-year old interim manager while Deutschman recovered from the flu was never actually in the pitch selection process. And that was fine with him.

“Jon’s been pitching a long time and knows the game far better than I do,” Hughes explained. “My job is just to mess things up until Mickey D. gets back in the dugout.”

Among the 19 whiffs, 10 came on called third strikes, including all seven in the 7th inning against the heart of the Gorillas batting order.

“Jon kept painting the corner with all of his pitcher,” Hughes added.

Meanwhile, the Stars (10-0 overall) collected 13 hits, including 10 by the completion of four innings.

Third baseman Joey Krug batted 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBI, while designated hitter Dallas Seidel went 2-for-3 with three RBI.

Arias and left fielder Leo Clarke also posted two hits, including a double by Arias.

In 2018, Sintes helped the San Diego Reign (Oceanside) advance to the NBC World Series, although the ballclub was swept in three pool play ballgames. Meanwhile, the Stars advanced to the  Elite Eight before bowing to the eventual national champions, the Santa Barbara Foresters.


Game Two

Three critical Stars errors allowed 11 unearned runs to score, as the Gorillas managed a 12-1 triumph to end the Stars’ season-opening win streak at 10 victories.

A pair of defensive miscues allowed the visitors from eastern Oceanside to grab a quick 3-1 lead, then a routine grounder was mishandled which would’ve been the third out instead led to nine unearned runs in the sixth inning. The outburst was capped on a 3-run homer by Jordan Gardner.

San Diego was limited to just five hits, but none of them figured in the scoring, as three walks were followed by a sacrifice fly by Josh Verdon to score Ryan Culp.

This week, the Stars are on the road with games Tuesday against the Mavericks, then Thursday at Poway High against the Crush. Both WBA contests are slated for 5 p.m.

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