LOS ANGELES—The fourth annual Jesse Flores Memorial All Star Game was played on Sunday, Nov. 7, at Mt. San Antonio CC in Walnut, California.
In a brisk contest, the South squad defeated the North squad, 2-1. Players are selected by a vote conducted by members of the Professional Baseball Scouts of Southern California (PBSSC). All participants hail from Southern California area high schools and have played this fall for scout ball teams.
The yearly contest is played in tribute to the late Jesse Flores, a long time Southern California scout who was the first Mexican national to play in the major leagues. In his remarkable career, working mainly for the Twins, Flores signed many big league stars, including Bert Blyleven, Lyman Bostock, Reggie Smith, Rick Dempsey, Craig Nettles and Jesse Orosco.
The North squad scored its only run of the game in the top of the first inning. With one out, outfielder Aaron Brown of Chatsworth (Calif.) High ripped a double to deep left center field, scoring a runner from first.
"I’m more relaxed now in BP,” Brown said. “I’m staying closed longer, keeping my hips in and looking to drive the ball the other way.”
Brown has committed to Pepperdine as a lefthander and outfielder. Sunday’s contest was not Brown’s biggest baseball thrill. That came in a varsity-alumni game earlier this year when he struck out Mike Moustakas of the Kansas City Royals, a Chatsworth High grad and one of the top hitting prospects in all of minor league baseball.
Outfielder Desmond Henry of Centennial High in Compton made the top defensive play of the afternoon. Playing left field for the South team in the top of the third, Henry raced in and to his right on a blooper behind shortstop. Diving at the last instant, he snagged the ball off the top of the grass.
“I read it well off of the bat,” Henry said. “I know with my speed if it’s up in the air for more than three seconds I’m going to get it.”
Bryce Mosier of Valhalla High in San Diego provided the winning margin for the South club when he drove in two runs in the bottom of the fifth. With runners on first and second with no outs, Mosier lined a shot into the right field corner for a triple. That clutch hit earned Mosier MVP honors.
A powerfully built, righthanded hitter, Mosier is committed to San Diego State.
“As a freshman and a sophomore I was trying to pull everything, now I try to go the other way,” Mosier said.
BA observed that Mosier appeared to run out of steam as he headed to third. Mosier smiled and replied: “I’m a catcher! I ran out of gas past second!”
Of course, any 2-1 game is dominated by pitching. The top hurler on Sunday was Danny Keller of the North squad, a 6-foot-5, 185-pound righthander from Newbury Park (Calif.) High.
Tall, lanky and projectable, Keller tossed a quick and dominant 1-2-3 first inning, registering a pop-up and two strike outs. Keller told BA he utilizes a two-seam fastball, curve and changeup. His fastball sat in the 91-92 mph range, and Keller’s hard, sharp curve clocked in at 79-80.
A Cal State Northridge signee, Keller said afterwards, “My change wasn’t sharp today, so I stuck with the two-seamer and the curve. My dad and I have been doing a lot of video analysis and that has helped me a lot.”
Other pitchers of note included:
Adam McCreery, Bonita High, La Verne, Calif.: A towering, 6-foot-8 inch lefty, McCreery improved steadily as the summer and fall showcase season progressed. His best pitch is a vicious 79 curve, which he sets up smartly by spotting his 88-91 mph fastball.
Koby Gauna, St. John Bosco High, Bellflower, Calif.: A righthander with a strong and mature frame, Gauna effectively uses his 90-91 fastball to bore in on the hands of righthanded hitters. He finishes opponents off with a terrific 77-78 change.
Tyler Leslie, Silverado High, Victorville, Calif.: The righthanded Leslie has been bedeviled by control problems in the past. His command was noticeably sharper in his one-inning stint Sunday. Leslie fires an explosive 91-92 fastball and adds a hard 78 slurve-type breaking ball.
Matt Budgell, Woodbridge High, Irvine, Calif.: Hitters received no respite from Budgell, a lanky righthander whose easy arm action delivers a 90-91 fastball and promising 76 curve.
Michael Flores, El Capitan High, Lakeside, Calif.: Tall and projectable, Flores breezed through his one inning of work, setting down the side in order by delivering his 88-89 mph fastball with a buggy whip arm action.
Quincy Quintero, Valencia (Calif.) High: Quintero was perhaps the most efficient hurler of the afternoon, quickly setting the side down in order in the bottom of the eighth. The righthanded Qunitero is a strike throwing machine, featuring an 88 mph fastball and deceptive 78 curve.