SoCal team representing Milwaukee Brewers finishes 4-1 while NorCal squad representing Oakland Athletics winds up 2-2-1 at elite Long Beach showcase.
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The final day of the 27th Annual New Balance Area Code Games on Saturday at Blair Field saw the local boys from Southern California playing for the Milwaukee Brewers end the competition on somewhat of a high note, while the Northern California boys from the Oakland Athletics went down to defeat for the second time in three days.
Here are recaps of the final two games played by each team – one on Friday and one on Saturday. Look for many California players to be recognized next week in additional Area Code baseball features.
Milwaukee Brewers 2, Texas Rangers 1
This year’s final game in the 2013 New Balance Area Code Games had the same two teams playing in what has become an annual grudge match the past five years.
With both teams still having some fresh arms, the game began as a scoreless pitchers’ duel and continued that way through five innings with the two teams combining for four hits — Texas with three and Milwaukee with one.
Then, with one out in the top of the sixth, speedy Brewers’ outfielder Denz’l Chapman (Serra, Gardena) singled, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Chris Betts (Long Beach Wilson) for the game’s first run.
Betts, an incoming junior from the high school right across the street from the Blair Field location of the Area Code Games, then came around from first on a double by Nick Valaika (Hart, Newhall) to make it 2-0 Brew Crew.
From there, Kyle Molnar (Aliso Viejo) came in from the bullpen to see his first action of the week, and although he gave up an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to Ke’Bryan Hayes that drove in Ryan Johnson, the incoming junior right-hander worked two innings and got the save.
With the victory, the Brewers finish with the same 4-1 record as the White Sox, but due to a head-to-head loss to Chicago, Milwaukee finishes second in the standings at this year’s Area Code Games.
Chicago White Sox 7, Oakland Athletics 1
In a game extended to eight innings so the pitchers could get in their innings, a depleted Chicago White Sox team played with only 10 players. They still won big to finish 4-1 and capture the best record at this year’s New Balance Area Code Games.
Despite being held to a lone hit through three innings, the White Sox got single runs in each of the first three frames, and then blew it open by putting a four-spot on the board in the top of the eighth.
Allen Beer led Chicago by going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a stolen base. Nicholas Shumpert had a double, scored twice and stole three bases. Mason O’Brien had two hits, an RBI and a run scored, Caleb Eldridge drove in two, and Jeren Kendall had a steal to finish with an Area Code Games’ high six stolen bases.
Oakland (2-2-1) scored its lone run on a fifth-inning single by Chris Williams (De La Salle, Concord) that drove in Casey Soltis of Livermore Granada.
For the third straight day, the Athletics’ offense never really got untracked. After opening the competition with two wins, Oakland lost a 4-3 heartbreaker to the Milwaukee Brewers, blew a 2-0 lead to get tied 2-2 by the New York Yankees, and then finished with the big loss to Chicago.
Still, despite it all, Williams, who is used to the big stage as the De La Salle starting quarterback, was thrilled to be a part of such a big event.
“I don’t get as many reps in baseball as I do in football, but to play against this kind of competition on a big league field like this was a true honor,” he said.
Brewers 4, Nationals 3
The Milwaukee Brewers didn’t make it look easy, but in the end a win was a win on Friday for the Southern Californians.
With the score tied 3-3 and two out in the top of the seventh, John Balliet (Mission Viejo) doubled and then scored from second when the Nats’ catcher threw the ball into left field as the Brewers’ left fielder attempted to steal third.
Coming into their Friday afternoon tussle with the Nationals on a high after their big in-state victory over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night, the Brewers scored first in the top half of the first inning on an RBI single by Kevin Padlo (Murrieta Valley, Murrieta) that scored Shane Mardirosian (M.L. King, Riverside) but that lead didn’t last very long.
In the bottom of the second, Washington put a three-spot on the board to take a 3-1 lead. Dalton Filotei scored on a RBI fielder’s choice by Clay Casey, and then Ryan Mountcastle came through with a two-out, two-run double to right field.
All was quiet until the Brew Crew got two runs in the top of the sixth. After Tommy Pincin (Upland) drew a one-out walk, Padlo struck again with an RBI triple. Padlo then scored on a double by Chris Betts (Long Beach Wilson). For Padlo, who had impressed scouts in Monday’s batting practice and during the week by making solid contact, the game marked his first hits in this year’s New Balance Area Code Games.
“I just felt like I was swinging the bat well all week,” Padlo said. “I knew I’d get more opportunities and today I made the most of it.”
A’s 2, Yankees 2
This Friday game went eight innings to accommodate the pitching rotation, but the result was the second tie of the 2013 New Balance Area Code Games. Both ties have involved the Yankees.
The Athletics took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning after Matt McLaughlin (Leland, San Jose) led off with a single and scored on a single by Ben Polshuk (De La Salle, Concord). A single by Casey Henderson (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego) drove in Polshuk.
The Yankees scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings with Tristan Rojas singling and scoring on an error in the fifth, and Joseph Matijevic tripling to lead off the sixth and scoring on a walk to Liam Sabino.
The tie game wasted a solid effort by Athletics’ starting pitcher Mason Perryman. The 6-foot-5 right-hander from Bakersfield High went three innings and gave up two hits with three strikeouts, plus he picked off a runner at first.
“I finally got my chance and I felt I did pretty well. Just walking out there in the first inning, I couldn’t stop smiling. It was like I was in the big leagues,” said Perryman, who came out aggressive and topped out with a 91 mile-per-hour fastball and a breaking ball that hit 78 on the radar gun.
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend