What a turnabout for Turlock High's Mark de la Motte, who spent much of the season looking for a consistent No. 2 behind ace Vince Wheeland.
That won't be a concern Saturday, when de la Motte coaches the West team in the 21st Modesto Sunrise Rotary Classic at Thurman Field.
Not only does he have Oklahoma State-bound Wheeland, The Bee's Player of the Year, de la Motte will also be able to call on Davis' Jake Sisco. The hard-throwing Sisco was the district's top power pitcher.
The large-school game begins at 7:05 p.m, and the small-school stars play at 3:05. The event has the top juniors and seniors in Stanislaus County.
It's also one of two all-star games Saturday: The Merced County All-Star Game is back after a 10-year hiatus, and it starts at 7 p.m. at Merced College.
If Wheeland and Sisco duplicate their regular-season exploits — Wheeland went 13-0 with a 0.74 ERA and 147 strikeouts in 85 innings; Sisco was 9-3 with a 1.00 ERA and 114 Ks in 76 innings — de la Motte's only decision would be how to split up the pitching load.
Wheeland led the Bulldogs to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 regional final, while Sisco led Davis on a late-season run that nearly produced a playoff berth. Both did their best pitching late this spring.
The teams are based on geography, so this just happens to be a year when the top two hurlers are on the same team.
The good news for the East is that it will send a powerful lineup to the plate: Brennon Williams (Oakdale), Garrett Roberts (Beyer), Dustin Baisdon (Ceres) and Brian Dix (Enochs) were on The Bee's all-Stanislaus District team.
One of the highlights in the small-school game will be seeing Central Catholic's Billy Flamion in center field. The district's top defensive outfielder spent time in center and on the mound this year.
Flamion is a junior, so this is a big summer for one of the district's top 2011 recruits — and it starts with this game.