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Another Day, Another MVP Trophy for Beck as East All-Stars Win

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

Jason Peterson and Sean Pettway, teammates on Grant High’s City 4-A championship baseball team this season, were having trouble remembering the actual number of trophies pitcher Rodney Beck has collected in the last few weeks.

“Let’s see,” Pettway said to Peterson, “how many MVP awards is that for Rodney?”

Well, to start with, there’s the East Valley League’s most valuable player award that Beck collected for the second straight season a few weeks ago. There’s the City 4-A MVP that he scooped up Thursday. And don’t forget The Times’ Valley Player of the Year honor he grabbed Friday.

And now add the Bernie Milligan All-Star game MVP to the list.

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Beck earned that piece of hardware Saturday, as he led the East squad to a 9-4 victory over the West in a nine-inning game at Cal State Northridge.

Beck, the Lancers’ senior right-hander, shut out the West in his allotted three innings on the mound, allowing only two hits to pick up the win. He struck out four and walked one in the first three innings, while the East jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

If that wasn’t enough to earn him MVP honors, Beck also was 2 for 3 and drove in two runs.

“He certainly is a dominating player who came through,” said Kennedy Coach Dick Whitney, who was co-coach of the West team along with Agoura’s John Crow. “It wasn’t too hard to figure who the MVP would be.”

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North Hollywood Coach Brian York, who has had to go against Beck the last three seasons, was glad to finally have him on his side. York and Canyon’s Wally Hammond coached the East team.

“After having him beat us for the league championship the past two seasons, had he not thrown well and been the MVP, I’d have been harassed by the other league coaches the rest of my career for ruining him in just three practices,” York said.

Beck, who was 13-1 for Grant this year, hardly disappointed York.

He started shaky, giving up a hit to the game’s leadoff hitter, Chatsworth’s Robert Roseboro. Beck then drew an error when his throw on an attempted pick-off got by North Hollywood’s Peter Washington, sending Roseboro to second. He then struck out Kennedy’s Bill Picketts and got Granada Hills’ Bob Allen to hit into a force play. Agoura’s Donnie Rea grounded back to Beck for the final out.

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Beck retired all three batters he faced in the second inning and allowed only a single and a walk in the third. He got out of the third by striking out Allen.

The East, meanwhile, got to Chaminade pitcher Pablo Suarez for two runs in the both the first and second innings.

Montclair Prep’s Reggie Smith reached base to lead off the bottom of the first on an error by Simi Valley third baseman Mike Hankins. Canyon’s Jay Kerschner followed with a single to right on a hit-and-run play. Kerschner then strayed off first base too far and got caught in a run-down play.

Smith broke for the plate during the run-down and scored ahead of the throw by Granada Hills’ first baseman Sean Casey. Kerschner reached second on the play and later scored on a wild pitch.

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Hoover’s Tom Konjoyan walked to start the East second, stole second and moved to third on a ground out. Beck walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Peter Straus of North Hollywood. With Smith batting, Straus stole second. Oak Park catcher Wally Sweeterman’s throw went into center field, allowing Konjoyan to score. Smith’s ground-rule double then made it 4-0.

With Beck gone from the mound (he moved to short), the West finally got some offense in the fifth. Ed Hall from Thousand Oaks had a bases-loaded triple off Hart’s Tim Nedin to make it 4-3. But the East got four runs in the bottom of the fifth, as Casey walked five batters in the inning.

The East also had three hits in the inning, including Beck’s RBI single, to make it 6-3.

Crespi’s Scott Campbell had an RBI single for the West in the seventh, and Beck had another run-scoring hit in the eighth to close out the scoring.

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Each squad finished with eight hits.

“Beck pitched a great three innings and hit the ball well,” Whitney said of the Oakland A’s 13th-round selection in the recent free-agent amateur draft. Beck will leave for Medford, Ore., Monday to begin his professional career.

Beck was gracious in talking about his game.

“To get the MVP award is great,” he said. “It just happened that this day I happened to be better than the others.”

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One of many this season for Rodney Beck.


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