South takes Cal Ripken League All-Star game

MPI CalRipAllStar 0034Baltimore Red Birds' Drew Blakely (8) hits a high flyer. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER    BETHESDA—North and South division players took part in the 2017 Cal Ripken League AllStar Game Monday night at Shirley Povich Field. While there wasn’t much scoring due to dominant pitching and baserunners getting caught stealing, the South would still end up with the 3-0 shutout.

The first score of the game came in the bottom of the third inning when, with the bases loaded, Alexandria Aces infielder Max Schuemann hit a sac fly to right field and scored Bethesda Big Train infielder Vinny Esposito to give the South a 1-0 lead.

The game remained 1-0 until the bottom of the ninth when the South added two more runs. Big Train outfielder Kirk Sidwell jacked one to right center field for a home run, and then, with the bases loaded, Bethesda designated hitter/pitcher Kevin Milam hit an RBI single to drive in Loudoun Riverdogs infielder Pete Nielsen.

In addition to the RBI single in the bottom of the ninth, Milam was also credited with the save in the top half of that inning, giving him the honors of All-Star Game MVP for this year.

One major factor of this game was that all the runs scored involved Big Train players (Esposito, Sidwell, and Milam). In fact, they all happened on their home field. Bethesda had a total of 12 players to represent the South division.

“It’s definitely cool to have 12 of your guys from your team out here and it was definitely a lot of fun, for sure,” Sidwell said. “It’s definitely cool to represent Big Train out here and it just shows the great talent we have.”MPI CalRipAllStar 0223Vinny Esposito (24), safe back at first base. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER   Many batters got some playing time, including DC Grays outfielder Lamar Briggs, the league leader in batting average, Big Train outfielder James Outman, the leader in home runs, and Gaithersburg Giants first baseman Mark Fraser, the leader in runs batted in.

Multiple pitchers got to take the mound during the evening, including Bethesda’s Stephen Schoch, Josh Hejka of the Baltimore Dodgers, and Alexandria Aces’ Dan Buratto, who struck out the side in the top of the sixth inning.

David DeSilva, manager of the Aces and South division for the ASG, was the winning manager. “It’s always a lot of fun to have these guys out here and show they can compete,” he said. “We came out on the winning side and that’s what it’s all about.”

DeSilva also stated that he has been learning from Big Train manager Sal Colangelo. “Sal’s been great for the last couple of years, so I’m just trying to learn from the best in Sal,” DeSilva said.

MPI CalRipAllStar 0333 1Kirk Sidwell (31) almost gets hit by a pitch. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER   Meanwhile, Giants and North division manager Jeff Rabberman also enjoyed the experience despite the loss. “This game really isn’t about who wins and who loses, it’s a lot more about kids showcasing their talent and having the opportunity to perform in front of Major League scouts,” Rabberman said. “I think this is all these kids’ goals one day, and to be a part of that and especially see our Giants players come out and play the way they did tonight was really, really good to see, and I was proud of how we represented our organization.”



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