East County Sports

Stars arrive but NBC opener no picnic

Vic Marano photo



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. —- The San Diego Stars summer collegiate baseball team received no favors after officials from the National Baseball Congress announced the first-round pairings to the 87th annual NBC World Series, which will be split between two Kansas locations in 2021.

The first half of the 10-day tournament will be held in Hutchinson, Kan., where the Stars will take on the difficult assignment by meeting the hometown Monarchs, the two-time Kansas Collegiate League champions. The contest is slated for Thursday (August 5) at 4 p.m. PDT and is available on the NBCWS Network.

In other words, the Stars gained little respect despite a third-place finish in nationals in 2019, which came off a fifth-place finish in 2018, both times falling to the eventual champions (the Stars did not participate in 2020 due to the pandemic).

“It is what it is,” said Kelly Ritayik, the new owner/president of the Stars. “For years, the NBC World Series brackets have been stacked to the advantage of the Kansas teams, so things haven’t changed for us, even with the passing of (previous Stars owner/field manager) Mickey Deutschman.”

Along with the tournament match-ups, NBC announced the three inductees to the NBCWS Hall of Fame. Along with Deutschman, the others are Ellis Ferguson “Cot Deal” Deal, a legendary player from the 1940s; and Robert Homolka, who served more than 50 years as an NBC umpire.

An NBC press release noted the credentials about “Mickey D” from the early stages of his ownership career after purchasing the ballclub in 1984. Included was the Stars’ initial fifth-place finish in the 1990s, defeating a Hutchinson (Kan.) Broncos ballclub which featured Barry Bonds and Rafael Palmeiro.

Also in the ’90s, Deutschman’s Stars scored a stunning upset a stacked U.S. National Baseball Team squad at the NBC World Series — the last time Team USA participated in the event –en rout to the club’s first third-place medal.

“We’re not saying this year’s Stars will do what some of Mickey’s teams did,” added Ritayik. “But we’re not here to go ‘two-and-barbecue’ either.”

The ceremony will be held on Fri., Aug. 13, the day before the NBCWS championship game, which will be held in Riverfront Stadium, the new downtown ballpark in Wichita, Kan.


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