East beats West 8-5 in state All-Star game

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 12, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Mike Pingel might have had an advantage on most of the other participants in the Virginia High School Coaches Association East-West All-Star game Thursday night – he and Western Branch’s Ryan Pond were the only two participants who had regularly played on the Nansemond River field before.

It worked; Pingel, who helped Great Bridge to the Southeastern District title last season, went two-for-two and drove in a run in the East’s 8-5 victory, was named his team’s Most Valuable Player.

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&uot;I don’t know what it was,&uot; he said. &uot;These games are good for me, because they’re what I’ll be doing next year.&uot;

He’ll be continuing his career at Radford University.

Matt Riffee, who smoked a solo homer over the left field fence in the bottom of the second for the game’s first run (and his team’s only lead) got the top West honor. &uot;I felt like I had a pretty good game, said the James Madison (Vienna) standout, who’ll head to Harvard this fall. &uot;We could have played better, but we all played hard and we had fun, and that’s what All-Star games are all about.&uot;

Following Riffee’s blast, Evan Pelot tied the score with a blast of his own in the third, and Jake Rule singled to left. Brent Haywood and Bob Holmes followed suit to load the bases, and Pingel singled in Rule. Haywood scored when Antwan Gaines grounded out, giving the East a 3-1 lead.

Pond doubled home Adam Melton for another run in the fourth, but J.C. Mitchum walked with one out in the bottom of the inning, and Jeremy Humphrey went in to pinch run. He moved to third on a fielder’s choice by Brent Weaver, and Austin Davis walked to load the bases. Brandon Guyer blasted a double off the left-centerfield fence, scoring Humphrey and Weaver to cut the lead to one.

It didn’t last, as Will Smith and Josh Eason walked in the fifth, and Tony Vicenzes dropped a double between two outfielders to score them.

Weaver drew a bases-loaded walk to score Brent Long in the fifth, but Holmes, Pingel and Gaines loaded the bases in the seventh, and Vicenzes and Pelot drew walks to score them. Guyer scored the game’s final run in the eighth.