Blue Crabs’ Wil­son named MVP as Free­dom wins all-star game

Blue Crabs’ Wil­son MVP in win over Lib­erty

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

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.

PHOTO BY BERT HINDMAN

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.

PHOTO BY BERT HINDMAN

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.

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