After another memorable Moore League baseball season, the best high school baseball players from Long Beach took a short trip down the 605 Freeway on Tuesday for an All-Star game against the Gateway League at Gahr High School.
The Gateway League used to be the SGVL and includes schools Gahr, La Mirada, Warren, Downey and Bellflower. They were the better side on Tuesday in a 16-5 win over the visiting Moore League.
“It’s important for the kids,” said Wilson assistant coach Marc Prager of the All-Star game he took lead in organizing. “They get to come out here and have one more game with their friends and have a good time. They’ve earned the right to be here.”
The Moore League squad was made up of the All-League selection the coaches made after Long Beach Poly finished as undefeated champions.
“It was really exciting to play with the Poly guys,” Prager added. “You can see why they won the league. They just make things happen and they bring a different type of energy to the dugout.”
Poly’s Max Pemberton and Lucas Scott provided the highlights early for the Moore League as Pemberton drove in Scott, Cabrillo’s Anthony Strawberry and Millikan’s Cameron Hegamin with a bases loaded triple in the top of the first inning. The junior catcher Pemberton also threw out a pair of would-be base stealers as shortstop Scott placed the tags at second base.
“It’s been emotional,” Pemberton said of the Jackrabbits season. “It wasn’t a stressful game, we were just out here having fun, and it was kind of a last hurrah for our team. We had a great season and I’m glad I could spend one more game with (my teammates).”
Pemberton was named the Moore League MVP for the game, and Angel Cortez was named Gateway League MVP after hitting a game-tying 2-run home run in the bottom of the first.
Scott also had an RBI triple in the third inning to score Wilson’s Diego Orozco, and Wilson’s Aaron Mingo provided the other extra base hit for the Moore League in the seventh inning. He ended up scoring on Wyatt Ormonde’s RBI groundout.
Mingo missed the second half of the league season after suffering a broken jaw, and this was his first game back in a Bruins uniform.
“It was extremely fun,” Mingo said. “It was also surreal, and to get a hit in my first AB is crazy. Especially a double against a good pitcher like that. It’s good to be back.”
All of the players gathered after the seven innings for group pictures with their teammates.
“It was a good opportunity (to play) and a blessing to be selected for this again,” Hegamin said. “ But it’s kind of bittersweet. All those guys I’ve played ball with since we were like 9-10 years old. Wyatt (Ormonde) and I have played together since we were seven.”
This game between the two local leagues has changed a bit in the last few years, and the coaches hope it can grow.
“We have big plans in the future,” Prager said. “We’ve talked to many people about sponsoring the game, different facilities, a home run derby, a competition derby and all that. We need organization and a sponsor.”