Chase Minor had already played a summer ball game in Stockton earlier in the day. The El Capitan High junior still had enough energy to match his talent with some of the best players in Merced County.
Minor went 2 for 2 at the plate, scoring two runs and pitching a scoreless inning to help the South finish in a 5-5 tie with the North at the 10th annual Merced County All-Star Game in front of a large crowd at Merced College on Saturday night.
The game was stopped after 10 innings as both teams combined to use 17 pitchers.
“Finishing in a tie is weird, I know,” Minor said. “In that ninth inning, we were so close. We’re both winners now.”
Minor helped jump-start the South offense with a single in the fourth inning. Two North errors eventually helped him score the South’s first run to cut the North’s lead to 2-1.
Minor later tripled and scored in the eighth inning to give the South a 5-3 lead.
“Tonight was just awesome,” he said. “I couldn’t make the practice the other day and I had a game today earlier in Stockton. These guys are great. I feel like I’ve known them forever. The environment out here is great with both teams.”
The North took an early 2-0 lead when Los Banos’ Trent Mallonee and Chase Wilson both singled and came around to score against El Capitan junior Anthony Perez.
The South later took advantage of a shaky inning on the mound by Buhach Colony sophomore Jake Sapien. The right-hander allowed three runs to score on two wild pitches and a hit batter with the bases loaded as the South took a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning.
The North cut the lead to 4-3 in the eighth inning when Atwater’s Jacob Weiss singled with two outs and then Los Banos senior Max Ramirez followed with an RBI-triple.
The South added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning to extend the lead to 5-3.
The North was down to its final out with two runners on base. That’s when Sapien lined a single to center field to score Mallonee and Hilmar’s Treven Crowley to tie the game at 5-5.
“After that pitching performance I had to clutch up for my team,” Sapien said. “I knew he was going to throw me outside and I knew he was going to call it a strike, so I might as well go get it. It was a solid hit.”
Both teams threatened to score late, but couldn’t push the winning run across.
“It was a fun night,” Sapien said. “It’s always fun to be around great talent.”