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Hernandez Poised For Another Shot At Local All Stars
Members of the 2012 Riverbank High varsity baseball team need to step up their game when they hit the dusty diamond next year, because Riverbank baseball just won't be the same without four-year star, Miguel Hernandez.

The 2011 Bruin graduate and first team All Trans-Valley League selection has been a staple of the Riverbank program since he hit the varsity level as a freshman during the 2008 campaign.

His quick bat has foiled strong pitching performances from some of the best pitchers in the area, and his play at shortstop has anchored the Riverbank defense.

Last year Hernandez was honored with participation in the junior/senior Modesto Sunrise Rotary All Star Classic, and will play in the 22nd annual game of the same name on Saturday, June 25 at John Thurman Field, home of the Modesto Nuts.

"It was fun to play in it last year and I made some friends from other high schools," Hernandez said on Monday. "Now I get to go back and have fun again."

Riverbank coach Ismael Mercado was happy to see his four-year protégé receive the honor again.

"Miguel is not just an awesome baseball player, he is an awesome kid," Mercado said. "I have not seen a player love the game so much like he does.

"We only won one game his first year and only a couple more his next, but it didn't matter if we were up 10 runs or down 10 runs, because he would always play as best as he possibly could. Everyone likes him, and he had a wonderful career here."

The feeling is mutual between player and coach.

"Coach Mercado is one of the best coaches you could have," Hernandez said. "He was so patient with us and made baseball great for all of the players. I really enjoyed playing baseball here."

Hernandez expects to take part in practice sessions with other local all stars next week.

He joined 2010 graduates Blake Costalupes and Ryan Bowden at the 21st Annual Classic last season, but is the lone Bruin participant this year.