Abundant Offense, Pitching Carry West To MWL All-Star Win

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich.—Chad Hinshaw (Angels) wasn’t expecting to come through with a monster hit at the low Class A Midwest League all-star game at Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the Tigers-affiliated West Michigan Whitecaps.

But the Burlington right fielder did want a hit. It just so happened that Hinshaw’s sixth-inning safety turned out to be a two-run homer over the left-field wall that helped lift the Western Division to a 7-0 win against the Eastern Division on a warm June night in front of a crowd of 7,046.

Hinshaw sent the ball sailing on to the patio area in left field as the West pushed its lead to seven runs. The hit served as the exclamation point on the night’s scoring.

“I was definitely not trying to hit a home run,” said Hinshaw, a 15th-round pick from Illinois State in 2013. “I just tried to swing and hit the ball hard. I was able to get a good hit. I’m glad I was able to contribute to the win.”

Hinshaw hit six home runs in the first half, and his longball in the all-star game was his only hit in two at-bats. Just being in the game, though, was an experience he will never forget.

“I was just trying to enjoy the day,” Hinshaw said. “I loved being in this game. I worked hard for this opportunity, and to be here in my first full season in the league is awesome.”

The West tallied eight hits, with Beloit center fielder Boog Powell (Athletics) ripping a two-run double to the wall in right field in the sixth inning that extended the West’s lead to 5-0. Powell earned the MVP award for the game. He stole two bases, including home plate in the first inning for a 1-0 lead, and scored three runs.

“It meant a lot to be in this game,” said Powell, a 20th-round pick from Orange Coast (Calif.) CC in 2012. “I had a lot of fun. There was no pressure.”

Strong pitching helped carry the West to the win. They had a no-hitter going through seven innings before South Bend DH Marty Herum (Diamondbacks) ended it with a single to right field.

The East managed just two hits, with South Bend first baseman Daniel Palka (Diamondbacks) getting the cub’s other hit in the ninth inning. Beloit righthander Kyle Finnegan (Athletics) earned the win as he pitched a perfect first frame.

“It’s great when you go out there for a start and already have a run on the board,” said Finnegan, a 2013 sixth-round pick from Texas State. “It gave me extra confidence. For us to go as long as we did without giving up a hit speaks volumes to the pitching we had here. I was happy to get my outs. I enjoyed the moment.”

Hinshaw enjoyed it as well. He said he’s hoping to build on the experience as he heads into the second half of the season.

“I was able to put together a good first half, and I’m happy about that,” he said. “I just want to keep getting better and continue to develop. I’m in Low-A for a reason, but if I keep working hard, I’ll have a chance to move up down the road.”