Northwest League All Stars Blast Pioneer League, 11-5
The Northwest League All Stars put away their younger opponents, the Pioneer League All Stars, 11-5. The game was full of offensive power and short of pitching duels. It was the second year of matching the two leagues teams of All Stars and this year proved no different as the NW League won the inaugural 2015 match up.
It was a decisive seven run 4th inning that obliterated the Pioneers one run lead and never let go. The barrage included a triple by the Vancouver Canadians Cavan Biggio that cleared the Eugene Emeralds Chris Pieters and the Spokane Indians Xavier Turner off the bases for, at the time, a one run lead. Biggio would come home to score off of Indians Seth Spivey’s ground out to short for what would turn to be the game winning run.
The MVP trophy, called the Top Star Award, was given to Xavier Turner for a perfect turn at the plate. Many NW League All Stars had multiple hit games but none better than the Spokane Indian who went 3 for 3 at the plate, scored twice and belted a solo shot to left field in the third inning.
The Local Hillsboro Hops team showcased three of their pitchers on the mound for the game. League leader in strike outs, Tyler Mark, pitched the second inning keeping the Pioneer All Stars hitless and scoreless in a game rocked by the bats all night. In fact, none of the Hops All Stars allowed a hit or a run on the night. Hops Tommy Eveld took the mound in the fifth and mowed down the opposition. And finally, Hops closer Jake Winston performed the same task in the ninth for the NW League All Stars when he took the mound with two outs and no one on base. Winston got Idaho Falls Chukar Yeison Melo to ground out to second to end the game in a win for the defending champs.
The Vancouver Canadians Patrick Murphy earned the win by taking the mound in the fourth inning. Roberth Fernandez of the home town Ogden Raptors faced two batters in the fourth for the loss.
Before the game, the festivities included a traditional home run derby. The contest came down to the final swing. The Pioneer league held the lead when home town favorite Ogden Raptor Ibandel Isabel hit two homers in the last round for the lead. Up to the plate stepped the switch hitter from the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, Gio Brusa. Choosing the left side of the plate, the 23 year old blasted the derby winner over the right-center field fence, the highest part of the park. The win evened up the score between the two leagues as the Pioneer League won it last year with the bat of then Missoula Osprey Luke Lowry. Last year’s home run champion is now playing for the NW League Hillsboro Hops.
It is still pending approval but word has it that next year’s All Star Contest, the third between these two leagues, may be held at Ron Tonkin Field which is home to the Northwest League Hillsboro Hops.
By Greg Stoker