The All Star Games in the minors are a time to show off for fans. It’s a time to see players you don’t get to see and for your kids to get some autographs. There were several Naturals that participated in the TL ASG and we will cover how they did.
This game finished in a tie after a dropped pop up in the top of the ninth. But, instead of pulling the embarrassment that MLB did in 2002, the Texas League hit a home run by bringing out the two finalists in the home run derby. Victor Roache represented the North and Sean Murphy the South. Basically it was a hit off. Roache went first and got one swing as the top of the inning. Murphy followed with the bottom of the inning. Both hitters struggled through a few innings before Roache hit a bomb. Everyone though the game was over but Murphy answered in the bottom half of the inning hitting a wall scraper to left. A few innings later, Murphy hit the walk off and the South was declared the winner. It was actually a great way to end the game. It was a great way to finish the game. The only adjustment I would make would be to hit the lineup that was in the game at the time. I would also do innings with three outs instead of one. Either way, this was awesome and the fans loved it.
Nicky Lopez started at SS for the North Division and hit second. Lopez went 0-2 but was able to drive in Jecksson Flores from third base on a ground out to second base. It was a very professional at bat hitting behind two runners in scoring position. In his first at bat he moved another runner with a ground ball. Lopez got high remarks from the radio announcers for his hustle and bat to ball abilities.
Erick Mejia started at 2B for the North Division and hit fifth. In his first at bat he grounded out to SS. In his second at bat, Mejia grounded out to SS.
Jecksson Flores started at 3B for the North Division and hit ninth. Flores was 2-2 and as always, played hard and with emotion. Flores lead off the third with a sharp ground ball single up the middle. Flores got picked off a few pitches later going on first move from a LHP, Flores stopped before he got to second, turned and ran all the way back to first and dove in safely. Flores went to third on a double and then scored on the Nicky Lopez ground out. In his second at bat, Flores ripped a single to left field. Flores then stole second on what looked like a delayed steal. Flores then went to third on a wild pitch. I’ll be writing about Jecksson’s prospect status later this week.
Scott Blewett pitched the second inning for the North Division. Blewett allowed two hits in his inning and did issue a walk or record a strikeout. The first batter he faced dropped a bloop single in to left center on a 1-2 curve. The second batter got behind 0-2 before hitting a weak fly ball to center field. The third batter fouled off three balls before getting a 2-2 curve up and away and ripping it to left for a single. Blewett induced a ground ball that was backhanded by Lopez who threw it to Mejia. Mejia bobbled the ball and was unable to turn over the double play forcing Blewett to face another hitter. Blewett got out unscathed getting a high pop fly to left.
Elier Hernandez came into the game as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the fifth. In his first at bat in the top of the seventh, Hernandez struck out on a 3-2 pitch. In Hernandez second at bat, he absolutely smoked a ball into deep right center. Unfortunately, the CF made a fantastic play running it down and turning it into a double play as the runner thought it was down.
Zac Lovvorn pitched the fifth inning for the North Division. The first hitter Lovvorn faced swung first pitch and grounded out to second. The second hitter he faced was down 0-2 before a defensive swing put a ground ball out to second for another out. Lovvorn got behind the third hitter before giving up a triple into the gap in right center field. Lovvorn than gave up a 2-2 double to left allowing a run to score. Dini then threw out the runner trying to steal third to make the third out.
Nick Dini came into the game in the bottom of the fifth as a defensive replacement and to catch Lovvorn. Dini threw out Richie Martin trying to steal third to end the fifth inning. Dini swung first pitch on his first at bat in the seventh and flew out to right. Dini received praise from the radio guys for his blocking abilities.
Emilio Ogando pitched the bottom of the seventh inning. The first hitter he faced was able to pull a ground ball through the left side for a clean single. Ogando got a strike out on a curve down and in and then followed it up with a 5-4-3 double play ball.
Walker Sheller pitched the bottom of the eighth for the North. The first hitter lined out to short. The second hitter took a check swing and hit a ground ball to second base for the out. Sheller got a ground out to short to finish his inning.