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The 59th Annual Exeter Lions Club East/West All-Star Baseball Game will take place Saturday at 7 p.m. at Rawhide Stadium in Visalia.

A total of 25 local high schools will be represented by 44 players on the East and West teams. Each squad will field 22 players from schools like Hanford, Sierra Pacific, Woodlake, Tulare Western and Porterville. Tickets will be $10 for ages 18 or older, $7 for 11-17 and free for 10 and under.

The West team is being coached by Mike Pankratz from Corcoran High School and the East will be led by A.J. Watts from Monache High School. Pankratz guided the Panthers to an 18-9 mark this season and 10-2 record in the East Sequoia League.

The Panthers were the No. 3 seed in the CIF Central Section Division V playoffs and had a first-round bye. They defeated No. 6 seed McLane in the quarterfinals, 15-2, before losing to No. 2 seed Liberty 12-0 in the semifinals.

The Marauders went 18-13 overall and 7-8 (4th) in the East Yosemite League. Watts led his team to an appearance in the Division IV championship game where they ended as runner-up in a 4-1 loss.

Locally, Clay Gillum, Flavio Perez and Beau Wilkinson from Hanford, along with Will Springer from Sierra Pacific, will take part in the All-Star game. No players from Lemoore or Hanford West are on the team.

Gillum was voted to the All-West Yosemite League First Team, while Perez and Wilkinson both made Second Team. Springer was voted to the Second Team in the All-East Sequoia League selections.

This season, Gillum led the Bullpups with a .321 batting average and was second with 12 runs scored and 11 RBIs. Perez had the second-most hits for the Bullpups with 20, while slashing .260/.310/.350. Wilkinson struggled hitting at times, but had a .323 on-base percentage and tied for a team-high 13 runs scored and a team-high nine walks.

Springer hit .339 for the Golden Bears and was tied for second with 18 runs scored 15 RBIs. The senior, who is still nursing an elbow injury, will play in the game, but only hit and not pitch.

The rest of the West team will be comprised of stellar players like pitcher and shortstop Jakob Acosta from Exeter, Josue Topete from Strathmore, Stephen Dean from Mt. Whitney and more.

Last season, the West All-Stars won 9-3 over the East. Hanford catcher Theron Dutra was named the Most Valuable player after he went 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and three RBIs.

The West has won five of the last six All-Star games.

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Noe Garcia can be reached at (559) 583-2431 or ngarcia@hanfordsentinel.com. Follow Noe on Twitter at @noecarlosgarcia.

Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Sentinel

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