Summer College All-Star Games Get Underway

Four summer leagues along the East Coast put their best on display last night, beginning when the Cal Ripken League all-stars knocked off the Valley League all-stars, 6-3, in the Mid-Atlantic Classic.

With the score tied at two in the sixth, the Ripken League knocked out five hits and three runs, highlighted by a two-run single from team MVP Andrew Parker, a junior catcher out of Towson.

Ripken’s all-stars got on the board early and were helped out by poor defense from the Valley League. Starting pitcher Andrew Armstrong (Ohio State), who cruised through his lone inning of work the night before in the Valley League all-star game, got Sean Godfrey (Ball State) to strike out. However, Godfrey advanced all the way to second on a passed ball, and later scored from third base on a botched pick-off attempt. 

In the fifth, the Valley League evened the score after two walks to open the inning. George Washington’s Stephen Oswald doubled to plate one and Masters (Calif.) College’s Tanner Leighton lifted a sacrifice fly to tie the game.

The Ripken team took over from there, scoring three in the sixth and limiting the Valley League to one more hit behind stellar outings from  Brandon Boudreaux (Tulane), Martin Agosta (St. Mary’s, Calif.), and John Austin-Shepard (Tusculum, Tenn.). In total, the Ripken arms surrendered just three hits all night.

Just a few hours north, the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League pitted the Eastern Division’s best against the Western’s in what turned out to be a dramatic 5-4 affair. Down a run in the seventh, the East all-stars took the lead for good by scoring three runs on RBI singles from Matt Carroll (San Jose State) and Kevin Heller (Amherst).

Carroll was named the game’s MVP after a 2-for-4 effort with three RBIs while Heller, the league leader in home runs (nine) and RBIs (22), went 1-for-4.

The New York Collegiate Baseball League also had an East-West contest on Monday, as the West came out on top, 8-6, thanks to seven runs in the first four innings.

The West was led by St. John’s incoming freshman—and Athletics 44th round selection—Chris Bostick, who went 2-for-3 with a double, triple and three RBIs on his way to the Bob Bellizzi Big Stick award. Brendan Collins (St. Leo, Fla.) and Jeramie Marek (Texas A&M—Corpus Christi) also had multi-hit games for the West. Ave Maria (Fla.) University’s Justin James got the win as the West’s starting pitcher. Joe Greenfield from Eastern Illinois also threw well for the West, recording their only 1-2-3 inning.

On Sunday, the Valley League kicked off all-star game season, as the North all-stars defeated the South, 6-4. The North, which also had players from Central Division foes Luray and Woodstock, broke the game open with five runs in the middle innings, including a pair of RBI base hits by Woodstock’s Michael Vinson (Delta State). Vinson was named the team's MVP.

Early on, it looked as though the South had the edge. In the top of the first, Georgia Tech junior Sam Dove hit a solo home run and, in the bottom half, sophomore righthander Garrett Cole (UMass-Lowell), threw a scoreless inning. But the Southerners’ momentum would be short-lived. After a one-out double from Joseph Bennie (La Salle) in the second, North sophomore backstop Keaton Neeb (Shenandoah) singled to even the score at one apiece.

The score would then hold steady until the fifth when Vinson, Brady Wilson (West Virginia), and Matt Marra (LeMoyne) each knocked in a run, giving the North a 3-1 advantage. An inning later, Vinson and Chris Triplett (Georgia Tech) singled in two more runs, extending the lead to five.

The South, which made the game interesting with three runs late, did have several standout performances, led by team MVP MJ Sartin (Nebraska-Omaha), who went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Sophomores Mac Williamson (Wake Forest) and Josh Tutwiler (Old Dominion) each had multi-hit games as well.

Before the game, Williamson, who led the Demon Deacons in all three triple categories this spring, edged out Baseball America second-team Freshman All-American Brad Zebedis (Presbyterian) to capture the home run derby title.

Southpaw Jonathan Jones (West Virginia) earned the win for the North, allowing one hit and striking out one in the fifth inning. Fellow North lefthander Andrew Armstrong (Ohio State) had an impressive inning of work, striking out all three hitters he faced.

Other upcoming all-star games include:

• Florida: July 12, Sanford (Fla.) Memorial Stadium.

• California: July 13, Casey Stengel Field, Glendale, Calif.

• Prospect: July 13, at West Virginia Miners

• Southern: July 13, at Winthrop University

• Great Lakes: July 13, at Great American Ballpark, home of the Cincinnati Reds

• Alaska: July 15-17

• Texas: July 18, at Brazos Valley Bombers

• Coastal Plains: July 18, at Fayetteville Swampdogs

• Northwoods: July 18, at Wisconsin Rapids

• Perfect Game: July 18, at Elmira Pilots

• Cal Ripken: July 19, at Shirley Povich Field, the home of the Georgetown Hoyas

• West Coast: July 26, at Goss Stadium, home of the Oregon State Beavers

• New England: July 27, at North Shore Navigators.

• Cape Cod: July 29 at Fenway Park.

Meanwhile, several Cape Cod Leaguers have gone on recent tears, highlighted by players of the week Taylor Rodgers and Jason Monda.

Rodgers, a sophomore southpaw at Kentucky, allowed just two hits in seven innings on Saturday, leading Harwich to a 1-0 win. Monda, a freshman outfielder from Washington State, had two-or-more hits in seven of his last eight contests heading into Monday, helping lead Brewster to a league-leading .273 team batting average.

No one on the Cape has been hotter than Georgia Southern’s Victor Roache, however. Roache, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs last night, is riding a seven-game hit streak in which he is hitting .565 with two home runs and 10 RBIs.

There were also a number of standout performances on Monday, starting with Hyannis’ Dylan Floro (Cal State Fullerton), who won his league-leading fourth game with a nine-strikeout effort over Brewster. Floro, who led the Titans in appearances this spring, worked 6 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on three hits while walking two.

A pair of Florida Gators shined at the plate in Yarmouth-Dennis’ 15-8 win, as sophomores Mike Zunino and Brian Johnson combined to go 5-for-9 with four runs scored and six RBIs. Johnson, who is coming off an impressive stint with the Collegiate National Team in which he hit .417 with three home runs and also worked four innings out of the bullpen, launched his first home run on the Cape. Cody Keefer (UCLA) and Mason Katz (LSU) also had multi-hit games for the Red Sox.

Bourne and Chatham both won in dramatic fashion, as Central Florida’s DJ Hicks went 4-for-5 for Bourne and Elon’s Alex Swim had four hits for the Anglers. Falmouth’s Jeremy Baltz (St. John’s) and Billy Ferriter (UConn) had multi-hit games as well, helping Tyler Duffey (Rice) win his second game of the summer.

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