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Arroyo Goes Overboard and West Wins, 12-7

Milligan game: Kennedy infielder hits tape-measure home run to help batter talented East pitching staff.

June 14, 1998|DAVE DESMOND | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

NORTHRIDGE — Tim Arroyo doesn't hit many home runs. But when he does, they seem to become almost as legendary as they are meaningful.

The Kennedy High infielder, who hit two home runs during the regular season, drove a towering blast over the right-field scoreboard at Cal State Northridge on Saturday and helped the West to a 12-7 victory over the East in the 22nd annual Bernie Milligan all-star baseball game.

"That ball was flat-out launched," teammate Danny Eisenberg (Chatsworth) said of Arroyo's two-run blast off Josh Herman of Crescenta Valley in the fifth inning.

It wasn't the first tape-measure blast for Arroyo. Earlier this season, he hit what is believed to be the longest home run ever at Kennedy, a shot that was measured at more than 500 feet.

Arroyo dedicated both home runs to family friend Spencer Shiffman, who is suffering from a rare form of stomach cancer.

Arroyo inscribed the home run ball: "To Spencer, Thanks for being there. Tim Arroyo, June 13, 1998, CSUN."

Shiffman attended the game only hours after being released from a hospital and undergoing a blood transfusion.

After the game, Arroyo and Kennedy teammate Jack Cassel hustled to San Bernardino to play in a state all-star game.

Arroyo, who led Kennedy with a .467 average, was only one of several potent bats that knocked around a talented East pitching staff.

Taking their lumps were John Ennis of Monroe, a 14th-round draft choice of the Atlanta Braves; 10-game winner Andy Davidson of Hart who is headed for Northridge, and Herman, who was on the mound last week when Crescenta Valley claimed the Southern Section Division I title.

Among the East's five pitchers, only Adam Siegel of Harvard-Westlake escaped unscathed against a West lineup that had 13 hits.

Siegel had to wriggle out of a base-loaded, no-out jam in the only inning he pitched.

How loaded was the West lineup?

Arroyo couldn't crack his team's six-man lineup for a pregame home run hitting contest.

Eisenberg, Joe Yingling of Camarillo, Ryan Cope of Westlake and Mike Byer of Royal each had two hits.

Cope hit a home run off Traviss Hodge of Highland to lead off a five-run eighth inning.

"This team could flat-out swing it," said Jay Caligiuri of Camarillo, who won the home-run hitting contest.

Caligiuri, who has committed to Cal State Los Angeles, hit seven home runs to defeat 11 other competitors, including Chris Martinez of Chaminade, who hit a state-record 20 home runs this season.

"This was the most impressive lineup I've ever seen," Caligiuri said.

Byer, who singled twice and drove in three runs, retired the first six East batters of the game to earn the victory, and was named the game's most valuable player.

"A lot of people think of me only as a pitcher," said Byer, who has committed to St. Mary's. "I wanted to prove that I could hit with these guys, too."

Hodge and Sal Trujillo each had two hits for the East, which leads the series, 13-9.

The East trailed, 7-0, but closed the margin to 7-5 by scoring one run off Ismael Marin of Chatsworth in the seventh and four runs off Max Santillan of Cleveland in the eighth.

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