DAYTON, Ohio – The Midwest League Eastern Division broke a tie game in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Western Division 6-5 in Tuesday’s All-Star game at Fifth Third Field.
Four Fort Wayne players participated for the Eastern Division: starting pitcher Joe Ross, catcher Dane Phillips, first baseman Luis Tejada and closer Roman Madrid.
The four were among 17 pitchers and 18 position players selected to each team.
I had a lot of fun, Phillips said. We were just enjoying the experience and loving it.
Despite some ups and downs.
Ross was the first TinCap in the game, entering in the second inning.
He gave up the game’s first hit, a single to left by outfielder Adam Brett Walker, and the first run on a double from designated hitter Dan Vogelbach.
Ross gave up two earned runs on and three hits in the second.
Meanwhile, the West held the East hitless until the bottom of the fourth, when a single by second baseman Devon Travis gave his team its second baserunner.
In the bottom of the fifth, he and the rest of the East struck harder.
A fielding error by second baseman Jorge Polanco gave the team a chance to break a 2-0 West advantage, and it did so.
Leonardo Reginatto singled to left to score one, and Travis – who batted .350 in the first half – gave the East the lead with a three-run triple. Travis, with a 2-for-2 day and three RBI, was the game MVP.
Phillips and Tejada substituted in during the top of the sixth. Tejada struck out swinging in both his at-bats but turned a double play on a backhanded snag in the top of the seventh.
Phillips walked his first time at bat and later scored. He also had a putout and struck out.
It was awesome, he said. I’ve played against some of these guys since I was in high school, year after year. And it’s a lot of fun getting to play with them.
Madrid was the last to take the field. He was charged with three runs in the ninth, which turned a three-run lead into a tie game.
But in the bottom of the inning, the East offense responded again. Brandon Drury led off with a double, and Alex Glenn walked to put runners on first and second. After a Phillips strikeout, Zach Vincej hit a fielder’s choice to put men on first and third with two outs.
On a 3-2 count, Dalton Pompey singled up the middle to score the game-winning run for the East.
It was kind of ironic because both sides were out of pitching, so that was the last inning regardless, Phillips said. I’m glad we were able to get the win.
A crowd of 8,746 turned out, both in the stands and on the lawns, for the game at the 7,230-seat stadium. It was the 49th anniversary of the Midwest League All-Star game.