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O.C. Baseball All-Stars cherish one last game in their high school uniforms

South All-Star shortstop Cade Liefer of Edison throws to first  during the Kiwanis Orange County All-Star Baseball Game.
South All-Star shortstop Cade Liefer of Edison throws to first to complete a double play during the 53rd Kiwanis Orange County All-Star Baseball Game at Hart Field on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Caleb Hohman had perhaps one of the largest cheering contingents at Tuesday night’s 53rd annual Orange County High School All-Star Baseball Game.

The Ocean View High School graduate came to bat in the seventh inning at Hart Park to wild applause. He said after the game that he had four Seahawks teammates — Kai Marden, Jack Rockefeller, Connor Knobbe and Jimmy Legg — in the stands supporting him.

Hohman roped a single back up the middle.

“I was so happy,” he said. “I was a little relieved … I did what I had to do.”

Hohman was one of six local players in the game, put on by the Kiwanis Club of Greater Anaheim. Five of them were on the South team, which lost 6-2 to the North in a nine-inning game.

Hohman, headed to the University of Dallas, was joined on the South by Ocean View teammate Brandon Wood. The right-handed pitcher threw a scoreless fourth inning.

“I felt good,” said Wood, bound for Santa Ana College. “I was little rusty in the bullpen, and then right when I got out there I felt good. The adrenaline was pumping.”

Ocean View's Brandon Wood hurls a strike during the 53rd Kiwanis Orange County All-Star Baseball Game on Tuesday.
Ocean View’s Brandon Wood hurls a strike during the 53rd Kiwanis Orange County All-Star Baseball Game at Hart Field on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Corona del Mar’s Blake Butcher and Matt DeCrona also played for the South, as did Cade Liefer of Edison. Fountain Valley’s Sam Grack was also selected to the squad, but didn’t play as he was out of town.

“It was obviously a blast being out here, but it was also pretty sad to put on this uniform for the last time,” Butcher said. “But you’re just out here having fun with your friends, trying to get better, all of that stuff. I had a great time.”

Marina graduate Gavin Langer was on the winning North squad. Langer had an infield single in the bottom of the fifth inning, when the designated home team scored four runs to surge ahead.

Butcher, DeCrona and Liefer all started for the South. Butcher, a four-year starter for CdM who is bound for San Diego State, started at third base. DeCrona, headed for Long Beach State, started at second base while Liefer, going to Cypress College, started at shortstop.

DeCrona got the South out of a jam in the bottom of the first inning, after the North had runners on the corners with one out. Bryce Gamble of El Dorado hit the ball hard up the middle, but DeCrona was able to turn a double play.

South All-Star Matt DeCrona of Corona del Mar flips the ball to second base to start a double play.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“It was kind of interesting, because it went behind the pitcher and then in front of the umpire,” DeCrona said. “I kind of lost it for a second. I just kind of guessed on where it was going to go. It worked out. I made the flip, and then Cade made a nice throw to first.”

Hohman’s hit was the only one for the locals on the South squad. The North added a solo home run in the seventh by Zechariah Samayoa of Los Alamitos.

Cole Seward of Valencia was named the game’s Outstanding Player, while Skye Selinsky of Mater Dei earned the Most Hustling Player trophy.

North All-Star Gavin Langer (15) of Marina High runs up to receive a pre-game certificate on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Ocean View and CdM had a total of four players in the game, deserved recognition after both programs had standout seasons. The Seahawks (22-7) won the Golden West League title and the Sea Kings (20-8) were the Wave League champions.

Both programs advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.

“It was the best year I’ve had so far,” said Butcher, who shared the Wave League MVP award with DeCrona. “It was a really good, close-knit group of guys, all buddies. It was going out there with your best friends every day and playing the game you love, which is great. We had a pretty special team.”

South All-Star Blake Butcher of Corona del Mar throws to first base during Tuesday's Orange County All-Star Baseball Game.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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