Pirates Fantastic Five Earn All-Star Designation
July 8, 2018 - LOS ANGELES -
The mid-level SBL pirates are the most charasmatic team in the Ventura County organization, not only through their communication with one another, but also through their compelling style of play. Regarding the latter, Jessie Gallindo, Josh Arkin, Gabe Gonzalez, Ellis Stevens and Max Sterner consititute the cornerstone of the Pirates’ team identity and have consequentially earned spots in the SBL All-Star Game on Wednesday.
Gallindo is a rock on the mound for Ventura. The junior from LA Mission College leads the team with 32.1 innings pitched. Though he can be a force out of the bullpen, all three of his starts have been quality ones, a fact which proves his versatility. his ERA, at under 2.60, could withstand a bad start and still remain under 3.00. Gallindo also has great command: his 25 strikeouts are six more than any other pitcher on staff.
Gonzales is a teammate of Gallindo’s at LA Mission College, though he is a class younger. He has six home runs and there has not been any doubt about a single one of them. He doesn’t bat-flip or stalk his bombs either, by the time the ball comes down (often in some unknown resting place) he is typically already close to second base. Gonzalez is a home run or strikeout guy, but with a 1.024 OPS, and .278 batting average, the Pirates don’t have any problem with his approach at the plate.
Stevens is second on the team in home runs with four dingers on the year. He is also a must-watch player defensively. The everyday center fielder has incredible range and can dive in any direction to make a catch. A true captain of the outfield, he makes his break on the ball with an apparent belief that he can catch anything, and he often proves that to be true. The specialist will play for Chino this Winter and next Spring.
Stevens’ most recent bomb was a two-run shot late in a game to score Gonzalez which is emblematic of the chemistry the Pirates All-Stars have with one another.
Arkin further supports the reputation Pirates’ players have for being able to play multiple positions. He is mainly a battery member, playing pitcher or catcher. This gives him an inspiring understanding of the strike zone that has helped develop the plate discipline the Pirates have shown recently. He is in the bottom third of the team in at bats but in the top twenty percent in doubles. Arkin is also one of just three Pirates with an OPS over 1.000.
Max Sterner also pitches or plays the field. He is batting over .340 while simultaneously functioning as a member of the main pitching rotation. Sterner is one of four Pirates with over 10 innings pitched and an ERA under 4.00. Oh yeah, he also threw an immaculate inning this year.
These players represent the ethic that defines Ventura baseball making them fitting choices to represent the North in the SBL All-Star Game Wendesday at Amerige Park in Fullerton. The Show begins with the Home Run Derby at 5:45 p.m.
*All photographs for this article were taken by Brian Melblom.