The midseason Major League All-Star game unfolded under blue skies and a warm sun at Penn Field on Saturday before a small but appreciative crowd. In this seesaw affair, the East Chop Stars gave up an early lead, then caught their West Chop counterparts with three sixth-inning runs. The 10-10 tie was a satisfying and altogether appropriate ending to an evenly matched, entertaining contest.
The game featured 20 players from the five Major League teams, split into two teams of 10. The format calls for all 10 players on each team to bat, and allows coaches plenty of leeway in maneuvering players on defense. In all, 10 boys pitched in the game.
East Chop, the designated “visitors,” started fast with two runs in the top of the first inning, another in the second, then four more in the fourth. Leadoff hitter Sam Zack of the Red Sox led the charge, reaching base and scoring three times. Entering the bottom of the fifth, the East was sitting on a two-run lead at 7-5. Then things got a little crazy.
Nate Story’s leadoff bunt single triggered a flurry of action that included a double steal, a rundown, a caught-stealing, and a line-drive double by Geo Meikle that scored two runs. When the dust settled, it was 10-7 for the West Choppers.
All of that set up the East’s last-inning rally that tied the game. The key hit was a two-out infield single by Robbie Pacheco that scored Josh Lake to even the score. The East’s fourth pitcher, Eamon Savard, retired the side in order in the bottom of the sixth, providing a win-win resolution to this fine ballgame.
The annual Majors All-Star pregame skills competition, in which the five teams contend for bragging rights in four categories, showcased the impressive talents and teamwork of the All-Stars. The Pirates won the base-running contest; the Cubs took the relay-to-home event; the Red Sox were the quickest in the four-double plays infield challenge.
Saturday’s Minor League All-Star game, played earlier in the day at Penn Field before a sizable and enthusiastic crowd, matched the majors in drama.
Trailing by four runs late in the game, the “visiting” National League stars rallied for three in the fifth, compliments of Jackson Munson’s bases-clearing double, and one in the sixth with Klaus Smith scoring to tie the game at 11. But it wasn’t enough. In the bottom of the sixth, the American League’s Lathrop Keene led off with a bunt single, eventually reaching third with two out. On a short passed ball he broke for home, and slid across the plate to give his team a 12-11 win. But that’s not all. Lathrop’s winning slide also made him the winning pitcher.