The 38th annual Charlie Wedemeyer Silicon Valley Youth Classic All-Star football game is approaching – July 18 at 7:30 p.m. from Westmont High School, to be exact.
Yes, that is a venue change. The game used to be held at San Jose State’s Spartan Stadium.
Six Gilroy-based athletes – Christopher High’s Marcus Harrell, Dillon Babb and Bryant Cid, plus GHS’s Jourdan Soares, Niko Fortino and Alfredo Mireles – will represent the South for head coach Norm Brown of Independence High.
It is an honor to be chosen for this prep showcase, and the players know it, which is uplifting to see. I learned today that Fortino’s father, Tim Fortino, played in the 1982 Wedemeyer game. And Tim’s cousin, Mike Fortino, suited up with Jeff Garcia in the 1988 Classic. Very cool.
A lot of pride is put forth to produce a worthy effort come game day. The South has a three-game winning streak heading into this year’s contest. Prior to that, the South had been winless – including a thrilling 28-28 tie in 2009 – in four consecutive. Last year, the South prevailed 24-13.
For those who haven’t gone to watch – it’s recommended. For those who have and will be there again – see you in San Jose.
• Gilroy High 2012 graduate Bubu Garcia is plugging away down in Arizona in the Diamondbacks Rookie League. Garcia, a three-time Tri-County Athletic League first-team honoree and the 2011 Most Valuable Player, was drafted in the 39th round of the MLB Draft last month and has since appeared in five games for the Rookie team. Listed as a catcher, Garcia has three hits and two RBIs in 18 official at-bats.
• I saw something I had never seen before at last Wednesday’s District 59 Junior League championship game. The Gilroy Little League Mets played hosts to the Milpitas Rays. Clearly the teams could swing the bat, had reliable pitching and enough defense to get by. Simply put, they had made the finals for good reason.
Unfortunately, the two teams’ true colors were curbed by an unreasonably tight strike zone.
In three innings, there were a combined 31 walks. The first inning alone lasted almost an hour, and included 15 runs to only two hits.
It was wacky and a head-scratcher to say the least.
Both starting pitchers didn’t last past that first frame. I figured Mr. Umpire would widen his pea-sized zone after that bizarre first. I was wrong. And, actually, so was he for not showing a bit of mercy. Little League strike zones are notoriously discombobulated – a bit expanded, if you will. Letters to knees and a couple inches off the plate, for example. Apparently, the “Blue” thought he was behind the dish of Game 7 of the World Series. Uh, no.
Neither team had the chance to showcase the reasons why they made it to the championship. Both sides, though, did demonstrate fantastic sportsmanship and restraint, for the most part. Kudos.
Fortunately for the hometown crowd, the Mets came out on top, 25-18.
• The Little League All-Stars are in full swing. Be sure to email your scores and highlights to [email protected]