The last month has been a memorable one for Jon Guzman on the baseball diamond.
The Henley left-hander pitched a no-hitter in a 10-0 win over Sisters as the Hornets repeated as Class 4A state champions at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer on June 7.
On Saturday night at Roseburg’s Bill Gray Stadium at Legion Field, Guzman threw five strong innings to help the South team to a 5-1 victory over the North in the opening game of the 35th annual 4A All-Star Baseball Series.
The series, which features the top graduated seniors, concludes today with a pair of seven-inning contests, beginning at noon.
Guzman, a first-team all-state selection, allowed one hit with four strikeouts and no walks against the North. He gave up an unearned run in the top of the second inning, committing an error on a pickoff throw to first which allowed Kelly Krumm (La Salle) to score.
“It’s really an honor (to play in this series),” Guzman said. “To play against a bunch of good competition and all these guys are from different schools. It’s a fun experience.
“We came here to win, definitely. The South came here to win ... we don’t want to lose to the North, that’s for sure.”
Guzman, Connor Qualley (Siuslaw) and John Dodson (Siuslaw) limited the North to three hits until the ninth inning. The North loaded the bases after three singles, but the South turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the contest.
The South took the lead for good in the third when Jesse Hilyard (Henley) and Tyson Wicklander (La Grande) hit back-to-back doubles. In the fifth, Caleb Custer (Baker) scored Tylan Corder (North Bend) with a single to make it 3-1.
Mike Hussey (Ontario) hit a sacrifice fly to knock in Chace Dixon (Baker) in the sixth. Dixon added a sacrifice fly to score Mason Cline (Baker) in the seventh.
“It was a new experience,” Wicklander said. “There were some jitters at the start, but it was nice to be out here with the best kids in the state.”
Guzman, who will take his talents to Western Nevada this fall, is happy to play with his Henley teammates one last time in a prep setting. Hilyard, a catcher, was the 4A Player of the Year and outfielder Cody Dykstra was a first-team all-state pick. Outfielder Drew Seater is also playing in the series and Tim Cleland is one of the South coaches.
“We’ve played together since the eighth grade and it’s been a good run,” Guzman said. “We just refused to lose. Our whole senior class, we just like winning.
“That (no-hitter in the state final) was a surreal experience. It was pretty cool, but to get another state championship and go back-to-back was the big goal.”
South Umpqua’s Justin Bennett walked in his only plate appearance Saturday. He saw action in left field.
“I can’t explain how great it feels to play in this game and represent Douglas County,” said Bennett, who made third-team all-state as an infielder and will play at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay. “There are a lot of great players here, and it’s a pleasure to be on the same field with them and the coaches.
“You want to have a great time and have fun, but also being a competitor you want to win, too.”
• You can reach Sports Editor Tom Eggers at 541-957-4220 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
North 010 000 000 — 1 6 0
South 011 011 10x — 5 12 2
Strang, Beck (5), Sprute (8) and Schaefer, Brattain (5); Guzman, Qualley (6), Dodson (8) and Hilyard, McCreadie (6). WP — Guzman. LP — Strang. 2B — Hilyard (S), Wicklander (S).