Josh May wishes he could play a few more games with the talent in the Merced County All-Star dugout.
The Merced High senior doubled twice, driving in one run and scoring another and the Merced County pitchers limited Stanislaus’ offense to just one unearned run and seven hits in a 3-1 victory in the seventh annual Merced County vs. Stanislaus County All-Star Baseball Game on Friday night at Merced College.
“It’s great playing with everyone from our county,” May said. “I wish all these guys could be on one team.”
El Capitan ace Sai Davuluri set the tone for the Merced County staff by starting the game with two scoreless innings.
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After watching Davuluri throw, many of his all-star teammates couldn’t believe he was only a junior.
Davuluri felt it was an honor to get the start in an all-star game.
“Oh yeah, big time,” Davuluri said. “It’s a big vote of confidence and it shows everything my coaches have helped me through. Starting a county all-star game means a lot. I just tried to use all that adrenaline to help me throw a little harder.”
The Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year got four groundball outs, struck out one and allowed a two-out single to Pitman’s Matt Carrigg.
Buhach Colony’s Nick Singer followed Davuluri with two scoreless innings, striking out two. Singer was able to pitch around a single by Turlock’s Blaine Weber in the third and he stranded two runners – one reached on a strikeout in the dirt, the other was hit by pitch – in the fourth inning.
Meanwhile, Merced pushed across all of its runs in the third inning.
Buhach Colony’s Mike Casso reached on a one-out single and then Los Banos’ Kevin Spencer reached on an error to set the table for May, who doubled to left-center field off of Gregori’s Matt Dallas to score Casso with the first run.
“Honestly, I was just looking to make good contact,” May said. “I wasn’t trying to go deep or anything like that. I wanted to hit the ball, make good contact and that’s what I did.”
Los Banos’ Tyler Wilson then chased Dallas from the game with a single up the middle to plate Spencer and May and give Merced a 3-0 lead.
“I was just thinking up the middle,” Wilson said. “I was able to hit the inside half of the ball on that pitch.”
Wilson caught the first six innings.
“It was a great experience,” Wilson said. “It was a lot of fun. It’s a great group of guys. It was fun back there seeing how all these different pitchers pitch, the type of pitches they throw, how they throw.”
Beyer’s Matt Williams, Johansen’s Joaquin Ramirez, A.J. MacCaughtry and Turlock’s Blaine Weber combined to shut out Merced’s offense the final five innings.
The Merced County defense was shaky at times.
Three errors helped Stanislaus score its run in the fifth inning, but Livingston’s Blake Jantz was able to limit the damage to the one run by getting out of a bases-loaded jam.
Casso, Sonora’s Joe Montelongo and Buhach Colony’s Ubaldo Romo teamed up to pitch the final three innings, with Romo getting the save.
Romo was helped by a diving catch in foul territory by Dos Palos’ Ozzie Suarez to start the ninth inning.
The win was the second consecutive victory for Merced County over Stanislaus, which still leads the series 5-2.
“It was really a lot of fun,” Davuluri said. “A lot of us played against each other and we’ve known each other since we were little. It was a good time to catch up, make fun of the other team and make fun of ourselves. You had the best of the best from the county in one dugout. It was a great atmosphere.”
Merced County vs. Stanislaus County All-Star Game
Merced 3, Stanislaus 1
Matt Dallas, Matt Williams (3), Joaquin Ramirez (5), A.J. MacCaughtry (7), Blaine Weber (8) and Andrew Urrutia. Sai Davuluri, Nick Singer (3), Blake Jantz (5), Mike Casso (7), Joe Montelongo (8), Ubaldo Romo (9) and Tyler Wilson, Nathan Flores (7). WP – Singer. LP – Dallas.
Stanislaus – Ben Solorio (2B), Sean Gingerich 2-2, Jordan Davidson 1-2, Roberto Flores 1-2.
Merced – Josh May 2-3 (2 2B, Run, RBI), Tyler Wilson 1-3 (2 RBI), Alex Chavez 1-2, Ozzie Suarez 1-1, Mike Casso 1-2 (Run), Kevin Spencer 1-2 (Run).