East County Sports

Stars will honor Mickey D this summer

2021 SAN DIEGO STARS BASEBALL
By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

LAKESIDE —- The San Diego Stars, East County’s nationally-ranked semipro baseball club, opens their summer collegiate program this Saturday (June 12), entertaining the West Coast Clippers in a Western Baseball Association¬†doubleheader. The first pitch is at noon.The contests will be held at Hostetler Field at El Capitan High, the new home of the Stars.

The Stars’ season is dedicated to their late owner/manager Mickey Deutschman, who passed last September. Along with the retirement of his number (7), “Mickey D.” will be inducted into the National Baseball Congress World Series Hall of Fame on August 13, The banquet will be held the night prior to the NBCWS championship game.

San Diego Stars founder Mickey Deutschman.

“The team wants to win the NBC World Series for Mickey D.,” said Kelly Ritayik, the Stars’ long-time president, who also takes over as club owner. “The season is dedicated to him for running the ballclub for more than 30 years.”

Deutschman went out in style. Since the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, the Stars’ previous season was 2019, when the club reached the national semifinals to finish third in the nation for the second time.

A season prior in 2019, the ballclub reached the national quarterfinals to place fifth for the third time.

Not too bad for a coach with more than 1,100 career victories, gaining induction to the National Semipro Baseball Hall of Fame in Evansville, nd., in 2014.

“Mickey was going to be inducted last summer, but so many teams canceled their seasons,” added Ritayik. “So they will induct him in conjunction with the new stadium in Wichita. The first week of the tournament will be in Hutchinson, Kan., then the second week will revert back to Wichita.”

“It’s only fitting to have Mickey inducted at the new stadium.”

The Stars will be managed by Sam Hughes, a product of West Hills High, who’s been the frontman for Deutschman for three seasons. Hughes will be assisted by 10-year Stars veteran Dallas Seidel, while former West Hills head coach Scott “Hoppy” Hopgood will serve as a pitching coach when available.

Any ballplayers interested in joining the Stars may contact Ritayik by email. Amateur players are eligible and do not endanger their collegiate eligibility by participating..

The Western Baseball Association is considered an “NBC Premier League” with automatic qualification to the NBC World Series.

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