Blue Crabs’ Wilson named MVP as Freedom wins all-star game
Blue Crabs’ Wilson MVP in win over Liberty
The Atlantic League’s best were on display on Wednesday night for its 20th annual gathering of all-stars. And the 8,175 in attendance at the TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, N.J., were not disappointed.
The Liberty Division threw the first blow with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, but the Freedom Division scored seven runs over the next three innings en route to the eventual 10-3 victory.
Freedom showed off its high-powered offense, outhitting Liberty 17-9 in the contest.
The Freedom Division was comprised of Lancaster, Sugar Land, York and the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and managed by Sugar Land manager Gary Gaetti. The Liberty Division, the home team for the all-star contest, consisted of Bridgeport, New Britain, Long Island and Somerset and was managed by Somerset manager Brett Jodie.
The Blue Crabs were represented by starting pitchers Brian Grening, Daryl Thompson and Gaby Hernandez, reliever Cody Eppley, first baseman/ designated hitter Zach Wilson, first baseman/designated hitter Michael Snyder and outfielders Devon Rodriguez and Cor y Vaughn. Rodriguez could not play due to injury.
Wilson was named the game’s Most Valuable Player thanks to his threerun home run in the top of the third that broke a 2-2 tie and Freedom never looked back.
“It was an awesome experience to win the allstar game MVP,” Wilson said. “I had so much fun with my teammates and seeing all the other talent around the league play at once.”
Liberty took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Luis Hernandez (Bridgeport) singled with one out and scored on a two-run homer from former Blue Crab Jovan Rosa, who now plays for New Britain.
Freedom tied the game at 2 in the second on backto-back homers from Sean Halton (Lancaster) and Kevin Ahrens (Sugar Land).
After Grening pitched a scoreless bottom half of the second, Freedom had its biggest inning in the top of the third.
Anthony Giansanti (Sugar Land) walked and Travis Witherspoon (York) singled to start the frame, then Wilson broke the tie with his three-run homer. Vaughn capped off the inning on an RBI infield single, bringing Isaias Tejeda (York) to home plate. In all, Freedom sent eight batters to the plate and scored four runs on five hits.
Tejeda doubled home Witherspoon with two outs in the fourth to make it 7-2.
Thompson, a 2003 La Plata High School graduate, came on to pitch the fourth for Freedom, allowing a leadoff homer to Angelo Songco (Long Island) and picked up a strikeout.
Hernandez came on in the fifth for Thompson and gave up a one-out single to former Blue Crab D’Arby Myers, who now plays for Bridgeport. Hernandez ended his one inning of work by striking out Rosa.
Snyder had an RBI single to cap a two-run Freedom sixth, scoring Michael Burgess (York). Snyder singled to load the bases in the eighth and Freedom scored a run out of it to cap the game’s scoring.
Eppley pitched the bottom of the ninth, getting Elmer Reyes (Long Island) to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
Grening picked up the win on the hill with his 1-2-3 second. John Brownell (Long Island) allowed all four runs and five hits in the third to take the loss.
“Wasn’t really concerned with the win but playing with all those guys and seeing that many Blue Crabs on the all-star team was real special,” Grening said. “Somerset did an amazing job of hosting the event, they made us all feel honored.”
Snyder collected a game-high three hits in the game as he, Wilson and Vaughn combined to go 5 for 11 with a homer, five RBIs and a run scored. Vaughn was also hit by a pitch twice.
Grening, Thompson, Hernandez and Eppley combined to pitch four innings, allowing one run on four hits with no walks and two strikeouts.
Wilson named home run derby champion
Prior to the all-star game, Wilson won the 2017 Atlantic League AllStar Home Run Derby.
The Blue Crabs infielder put his power on display as he banged out eight home runs in the first round as did Lancaster’s Garrett Weber.
In the championship round, Wilson outlasted Weber, hitting four homers to his three to claim the title.
The other participants in the home run derby were Halton, Mike Crouse (New Britain), Conor Bierfeldt (New Britain), and Songco.
“The home run derby is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” Wilson said. “And it felt good to come out on top and become the champion.”
The Blue Crabs resume play after the all-star break with a three-game series at New Britain starting tonight and come home for a three-game set versus York starting Monday.
Blue Crabs first baseman/designated hitter Zach Wilson was named the 2017 Atlantic League allstar home run derby champion then later in the night won the league’s All-Star Game Most Valuable Player award after a three-run home run in the Freedom Division’s 10-3 win over Liberty in New Jersey on Wednesday night.
Blue Crabs pitcher Brian Grening got the win on the hill as he threw a scoreless second inning in the Freedom Division’s 10-3 win over Liberty in Wednesday night’s Atlantic League All-Star Game in New Jersey.