December 13, 2018

Southern League All-Star Game Wrap Up

July 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Last week’s Southern League All-Star game was just that; an All-Star game rather than a futures game.  Many of the players selected were older players with good numbers rather than “prospects.”  But there still were some things worth seeing.

Foregoing the usual home run derby, Huntsville Stars General Manager Buck Rogers chose to highlight the local Miracle league for kids with disabilities.  It was great to see these kids get a chance to play baseball against their peers.  All-Stars pitched to the kids who batted until they put the ball in play.  Each rotated through the lineup, batting as many times as time permitted.  No one made an out and each scored every time they batted.

All-,Star players assisted hitters who needed help swinging the bat and escorted the kids around the bases.  Willie Cabrera of the Mississippi Braves stood out as my MVP, stepping up first and the most in helping the kids.

Perhaps the symbol of the game might be the little girl in a wheelchair, sporting two casts.  Players lined up to sign them before a gentleman who appeared to be her father pushed her down to first base after a base hit.

Other pre-game activities included sky divers, a sword swallower, two men who performed by twirling pizza dough and the swearing in of some new soldiers from Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal.

The game, won by the North 3-2, was mostly a showcase of plus arms.  Former first-round pick Matt Dominguez of the Jacksonville Suns (Florida) was the MVP, knocking out three hits including the game’s only two home runs.  Jacob Elmore of Mobile (Arizona) was the only other player with multiple hits, a single and a double.  Ozzie Martinez, Cabrera, Carlos Triunfel and David Sappelt added doubles.

Anthony Carter of Birmingham (White Sox) struck out 4 batters in 2 innings to lead the pitchers. Many pitchers lit up the radar gun in their brief stints on the mound.  Kenley Jansen of Chattanooga (Los Angeles) hit 97, Mauricio Robles of West Tennessee (Seattle) 95, Brandon Beachy of Mississippi (Atlanta), Anthony Varvaro of West Tennessee, Leyson Septimo of Mobile and Ryan Buchter of Tennessee (Cubs) all topped out at 94, and Miguel Socolovich of Birmingham, Dan Jennings of Jacksonville and Anthony Carter of Birmingham all hit 93 miles per hour.

It is difficult sometimes in an All-Star game to keep up with the player changes.  Two things made it even more difficult here.  Players wore their own jerseys so there were duplicate numbers.  Starting the game on the mound for the North was a player who had a duplicate number as a teammate.  The scouts quickly figured out this pitcher was not the announced starter or either of the two players on the roster with that number. Turns out because of a somewhat short-handed pitching staff the South loaned pitcher Joshua Collmenter to the North, and he went on to be the winning pitcher!

Jim Sandoval is a history teacher and freelance baseball writer who collects ballparks and baseball scout sightings. He has contributed to SABR’s NL and AL Deadball Stars books, the Fenway Project and SABR’s Bio Project. A former small college baseball player he realized he was more of a prospect writing baseball than playing it. He currently is an Associate scout for the Minnesota Twins and is Co-Chairman of SABR’s Scouts committee. On an average summer evening he can be seen behind the plate at Huntsville Stars games.

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