Prep Impressions: June 4, 2012

I covered the Inland Empire Baseball Coaches’ Association all-star game for The Press-Enterprise on Monday, June 4, 2012, and came away thinking I hit the nail on the head when I told several people I thought that the over/under for errors was five.

Why five? Have you ever seen high school baseball? Howabout exhibition high school baseball?

The last time I covered this event, in 2010 at UC Riverside, there were at least a half-dozen errors, and to it’s ultimate credit it is an all-star game. It wouldn’t be any fun without some alley-oops (emphasis on the oops).

I thought my estimate of five for Monday night at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino (Ca.) may have even been a little low, especially after the first inning, when two San Bernardino players made defensive errors that led to two runs for Riverside.

Then San Bernardino players made two more in the fifth as part of Riverside’s five-run inning that blew the game open.

Riverside mixed in one somewhere in the late innings — I was writing my story by then and didn’t get the license plate, officer — and there you have it: five errors.

Big whoop, right. I got that one. So what, you say?

I also predicted a 9-7 score in the game preview. How’s that? I got the winner’s score correctt but I had the margin of victory and the loser’s score transposed.

Heck, that’s practically clarevoyant. I don’t think Madam Fortuneteller could do any better.

And I don’t think anyone could have predicted that Corona senior P Daniel Pena would show off his inner Pedro Martinez and strike out the first three San Bernardino County batters of the game. After going to a 2-1 count to leadoff hitter Brandon Charles (San Bernardino San Gorgonio), he threw two consecutive strikes, buckling Charles’ knees with an outside fastball for a called third strike.

Actually, the first few innings were a lot of fun as Riverside County jumped to an early lead. It provided the game with a story line.

I did notice how the middle of Riverside County’s lineup was a completely disappointing (going a combined 0-for-5) but Riverside’s pitching staff was up to the challenge even if their big bats weren’t.

After Pena blew away the side in the first, only two (Brandon Smith and Angelo Lingos) of the next eight Riverside pitchers allowed runs, and Smith and Lingos allowed just one apiece.

Kevin Stevens (Redlands East Valley) came in in the third and got three quick outs to quiet the game. Jonah Fisher (Fontana Miller) then pitched a scoreless fourth but then Jack Collingsworth (Apple Valley Christian) had some really tough luck in the fifth.

Collingsworth, poor kid, walked the first two batters, who were then moved along with two consecutive errors and a double by La Quinta senior OF Jordan Panster. Collingsworth struck out Derek Van Billiard (Riverside Ramona) but allowed a two-run single to Riverside Norte Vista senior P Rick Ruiz. He got out of the inning by getting Paul Martinez (Riverside Arlington) to flyout and by striking out Mark Lesinski (Riverside Patriot).

Ruiz had a strikeout and left the bases loaded in the sixth. He pitched 1 1/3 innings — 1/3 inning more than any other pitcher.

He looked like he was having the most fun.

Heck, the whole game was a lot of fun. And it’s supposed to be.

Did I mention it was an all-star game?

Photos by FRANK BELLINO for The Press-Enterprise

Aaron Cisneros (San Bernardino) tags out Dennis Morton (Temecula Valley) during the second inning on Monday, June 4. / FRANK BELLINO for The Press-Enterprise

Corona’s Daniel Pena (left) and Riverside Poly’s R.J. Ybarra have a little chat during Pena’s Pedro-esque first inning. / FRANK BELLINO for The Press-Enterprise

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