Blue Crabs help Freedom beat Liberty in Atlantic League All-Star game
Blue Crabs help their division prevail
Brian Burres and Cody Eppley have been the anchors of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs pitching staff thus far this season.
And in Wednesday night’s 19th annual Atlantic League All-Star baseball game the two pitchers were key contributors in the Freedom Division’s 3-1 victory over the Liberty Division at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Pennsylvania, home of the Lancaster Barnstormers.
The home run derby was scheduled to be before the game but was canceled due to rain in Lancaster.
The top players around the league squared off in the mid-summer classic, which returned to the Red Rose City for the first time since 2007.
Burres and Eppley were two of five Blue Crabs players who represented the Freedom Division at the all-star gathering as infielders Bryant Nelson and Michael Snyder and outfielder Jamar Walton were also chosen to suit up for the game.
Current New Britain Bees manager Stan Cliburn managed the Freedom Division club. He earned the gig by guiding the Blue Crabs to the division title a season ago.
“Any time you are asked to be involved in an all-star game, it’s a privilege, but it is especially in Lancaster, a place I love,” Cliburn said. “It was good to lead the Freedom Division to get the win. Our pitching and defense playing really well tonight.”
Burres, the starter for the Freedom Division, pitched just one inning, allowing one run, which was unearned, on one hit with one strikeout and a walk.
At the all-star break, Burres leads the team in wins (6), strikeouts (78) and innings pitched (88 1/3), and his 2.75 ERA is good for fourth in the Atlantic League.
Eppley, who has 13 saves as the closer for the Blue Crabs, pitched the third inning and struck out two batters as he retired Liberty in order.
“Being able to start and play in the all-star game was a huge honor,” Burres said. “Stan is a great manager and playing for him tonight was very fun. Playing with and against other players from around the league was a big opportunity for me to be apart.”
Burres retired the first two hitters he faced, then allowed a walk to Jovan Rosa (New Britain) and a single to Bryan LaHair (Somerset). Liberty took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Jose Cuevas (Bridgeport) reached on a ground ball to shortstop that resulted in two errors being called on the play and Rosa scoring. That was the only run Liberty would get all night.
The first 10 Freedom hitters had been retired in order when Lancaster’s Caleb Gindl smacked a solo home run to right field to tie the game at 1 in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Freedom took the lead for good when Charlie Cutler (Lancaster) singled in Sean Halton (Lancaster) with two outs and, with Travis Witherspoon (York) at the plate, Liberty pitcher Patrick Crider (Long Island) threw his second wild pitch of the inning to bring in Andres Perez (York).
Ricardo Gomez (York) picked up the win for Freedom as he pitched a scoreless fifth inning with one strikeout. Mike DeMark (York) got the save with one strikeout and a walk. Crider was the losing pitcher, giving up two runs on three hits in the fifth.
Gindl, who finished 2 for 4 at the plte with a run scored, including the fourth-inning homer, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player in front of his home crowd.
Snyder, who started at first base and went 0 for 2 with a strikeout, was ecstatic to be playing in his first Atlantic League All-Star game.
“It was a awesome experience,” said Snyder, who is tied for second in the league in homers with 13. “I’m just proud I had the chance to represent the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Coming into the season I didn’t know the first half had been more fun then I’ve had in a long time playing baseball and tonight opened my eyes and me realize this year has been such a privilege and amazing opportunity. Lancaster did an outstanding job and made this night very special for us. What an experience.”
Walton and Nelson were each 0 for 1 in their lone chances at the plate, both coming in the ballgame in the sixth.
“It was fun and it always a good thing to go out and contribute either defensively or with the bat,” said Walton, who is hitting .276 with eight homers on the season. “It was a pleasure to play for Stan again, a great leader and manager. We missed the home run derby, but everything turned out well.”
Blue Crabs pitcher Brian Burres started on the mound in the Freedom Division’s 3-1 victory over the Liberty Division on Wednesday night in the Atlantic League All-Star baseball game at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster. The left-hander pitched one inning and gave up one run, which was unearned, on one hit with one strikeout in the contest.
Blue Crabs outfielder Jamar Walton represented the Freedom Division at Wednesday night’s Atlantic League All-Star baseball game at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pa. Walton went into the game in the sixth inning and was 0 for 1.