Nashville center fielder Cedric Mullins homered on the first pitch in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the North League a 5-4 victory in the 21st PGBL All-Star Game.
Mullins greeted Flagstaff’s Jose Berrios with a drive over the Great American Ball Park fence to finish off a back-and-forth affair as neither team ever led by more than a run.
Homers bookended the contest, as Berkeley catcher Yasmani Grandal opened with a shot off Toronto’s Shohei Ohtani to put the South ahead right away.
Tigers second baseman Jose Altuve picked up for his Toronto teammate with a two-run single off Dublin starter Jacob deGrom in the bottom of the second.
The Berks’ Tyler O’Neill put the SL back in front with a two-run shot off Boston’s Zach Wheeler in the top of the fourth, but Chicago shortstop Brandon Crawford responded with a two-run poke off Berkeley ace Max Scherzer in the bottom half.
The South got even in the top of the eighth against Cardinals closer Mark Melancon with Aaron Judge of St. Louis singling home Whit Merrifield of Las Vegas. Melancon managed to preserve a tie by stranding Judge at third.
Liam Hendriks of Pittsburgh and Jordan Romano of Compton set both sides down in order in the ninth, and Hendriks worked a second perfect inning in the 10th to set the stage for Mullins.
With the win, the NL reclaimed the series lead at 11-10 while improving to 3-0 in extra innings, with the first two wins coming as the visitors (2003, 2015).
Max Scherzer now stands alone with the most PGBL All-Star selections without making a start.
Scherzer headlines the list of South League pitchers and reserves chosen for the 2022 game being hosted by the London Arsenal. The North League’s bench includes Ottawa third baseman Josh Donaldson, who matches NL starting second baseman Jose Altuve of Toronto as a six-time All-Star.
One of a pair of All-Star aces for league-leading Berkeley, Scherzer earned his seventh selection to the midseason showcase, putting him in a five-way tie for second most behind Albert Pujols – and breaking a tie with Chris Sale for the most appearances without beginning the game.
Conversely, Scherzer’s fellow Berks ace Trevor Bauer was picked for his first All-Star Game, joining 32 newcomers split evenly among the two rosters. It’s a group that includes a host of veterans, including Chicago shortstop Brandon Crawford, London southpaw Danny Duffy and Boston pitcher Zach Wheeler.
Berkeley led the way with seven total All-Stars, followed by Memphis with six. Five Arsenal members will play in front of the home crowd at Great American Ball Park, as London matched Chicago for the most NL representatives with five apiece.
Six players will be their team’s lone representative, including starting SL designated hitter Bryce Harper of Tijuana. Josh Hader was also chosen from the Tequila Swiggers before being traded to Toronto, and is replaced on the squad by Flagstaff’s Jose Berrios. The other solo selections are Cedric Mullins of Nashville, Brandon Lowe of Vancouver, Whit Merrifield of Las Vegas, Anthony Santander of Louisville and Tony Kemp of Twin City.
A total of 36 first-time All-Stars were split evenly among the two teams. Included among them were 10 starters, three for the South (Wander Franco, Matt Olson and Tyler O’Neill) and five for the North (Byron Buxton, Brandon Crawford, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Frank Schwindel and Ramon Urias).
SOUTH LEAGUE ALL-STARS Pitchers Jacob deGrom, Dublin (SP) Trevor Bauer, Berkeley Jose Berrios, Flagstaff** Corbin Burnes, Memphis Emmanuel Clase, Dublin Josh Hader, Tijuana* Lance Lynn, St. Louis Jordan Romano, Compton Casey Sadler, Berkeley Max Scherzer, Berkeley Ranger Suarez, St. Louis Cole Sulser, St. Louis Brandon Woodruff, Compton Reserves Carson Kelly, Berkeley Paul Goldschmidt, Compton Whit Merrifield, Las Vegas Tony Kemp, Twin City Bo Bichette, Flagstaff Jose Ramirez, Dublin Bryan Reynolds, Compton Luis Robert, Memphis Aaron Judge, St. Louis Anthony Santander, Louisville Yordan Alvarez, Flagstaff Lineup C – Yasmani Grandal CF – Fernando Tatis Jr. RF – Juan Soto 3B – Nolan Arenado DH – Bryce Harper LF – Tyler O’Neill 1B – Matt Olson SS – Trea Turner 2B – Wander Franco * – traded to North League; ** – replacement selection
NORTH LEAGUE ALL-STARS Pitchers Shohei Ohtani, Toronto (SP)^ Danny Duffy, London Max Fried, Chicago Liam Hendriks, Pittsburgh Tanner Houck, Toronto Tyler Matzek, Cleveland Mark Melancon, Chicago Charlie Morton, Chicago Carlos Rodon, Cleveland Spencer Turnbull, Boston Julio Urias, Cleveland Zach Wheeler, Boston Reserves Jason Castro, Chicago Ty France, Ottawa Tim Anderson, London Brandon Lowe, Vancouver Xander Bogaerts, London Josh Donaldson, Ottawa Teoscar Hernandez, London Cedric Mullins, Nashville Kyle Tucker, Calgary Michael Brantley, Ottawa Pete Alonso, Pittsburgh Lineup RF – Ronald Acuna LF – Ketel Marte 1B – Frank Schwindel DH – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. CF – Byron Buxton C – Salvador Perez SS – Brandon Crawford 2B – Jose Altuve 3B – Ramon Urias ^ – also selected as an outfield reserve
Drafted in the ninth round and traded three times before his breakout season, Shohei Ohtani is now the first two-way All-Star in PGBL history.
The Toronto Tigers ace/right fielder has been named as the North League’s starting pitcher for the annual showcase, this year hosted by London, the franchise that drafted him in 2013.
Ohtani boasts an NL-best 10-1 record with 118 strikeouts and a 3.18 ERA that ranks third in the league. He’s played in every game, typically batting fifth or sixth as the starting right fielder in the Tigers’ potent lineup.
The NL’s starting designated hitter in 2019, Ohtani merits All-Star honors as both a hitter and a pitcher and has a case to be in the NL starting lineup with 22 home runs and a .952 OPS. While he is being chosen as a two-way honoree, he will not bat in the game and instead will start on the mound.
He’ll be opposed by perennial SL opener Jacob deGrom of Dublin, who earns his fifth straight appearance and will start the game for the fourth time.
Ohtani will face an SL lineup with four representatives from reigning PGBL champion Memphis: first baseman Matt Olson, second baseman Wander Franco, shortstop Trea Turner and right fielder Juan Soto.
SL-leading Berkeley has three in the lineup in catcher Yasmani Grandal, third baseman Nolan Arenado and left fielder Tyler O’Neill. The South order will be rounded out by Flagstaff’s Fernando Tatis Jr. in center field and Tijuana’s Bryce Harper as the DH.
A pair of Ohtani’s Tigers teammates will start for the NL: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be the DH while second baseman Jose Altuve makes his fifth All-Star start in six appearances.
Boston will supply both starting corner infielders for the North in rookie slugger Frank Schwindel at first and Ramon Urias at third. Calgary’s Salvador Perez gets the nod behind the plate and Chicago shortstop Brandon Crawford grabs the last infield spot, while an athletic NL outfield features Byron Buxton of Cleveland, Ronald Acuna of Pittsburgh, and Ketel Marte of the host Arsenal.
Reserves will be announced later.
2021 ALL-STAR STARTERS South League C – Yasmani Grandal, Berkeley 1B – Matt Olson, Memphis 2B – Wander Franco, Memphis SS – Trea Turner, Memphis 3B – Nolan Arenado, Berkeley LF – Tyler O’Neill, Berkeley CF – Fernando Tatis Jr., Flagstaff RF – Juan Soto, Memphis DH – Bryce Harper, Tijuana SP – Jacob deGrom, Dublin North League C – Salvador Perez, Calgary 1B – Frank Schwindel, Boston 2B – Jose Altuve, Toronto SS – Brandon Crawford, Chicago 3B – Ramon Urias, Boston LF – Ketel Marte, London CF – Byron Buxton, Cleveland RF – Ronald Acuna, Pittsburgh DH – Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto SP – Shohei Ohtani, Toronto
Dublin third baseman Jose Ramirez had the biggest hit of the night as the South League extended its hot streak in the PGBL All-Star Game.
Ramirez smacked a two-run homer off Vancouver’s Kenta Maeda in the first inning and the South never trailed in a 6-5 victory at Angel Stadium. Ramirez earned MVP honors as the game’s only long ball enabled the SL to claim its third straight win over the North and fourth in five seasons.
Michael Conforto of Memphis contributed a two-run double and had two of the South’s seven hits while Brandon Nimmo added an RBI ground out and threw a North runner out at the plate.
Melee reliever Tejay Antone left the potential tying run stranded in scoring position in the eighth and Flagstaff’s Austin Slegers induced three ground outs in a perfect ninth to finish off the win.
Starting pitcher Jacob deGrom of the Guinness, Dublin rotation mate Yu Darvish, winning pitcher Tony Gonsolin of Louisville and Antone each had two of the South’s 12 strikeouts. The NL staff racked up 11 Ks, with Maeda and Brooklyn’s Ian Anderson recording three apiece in the first two innings.
Clydesdales second baseman DJ LeMahieu opened the bottom of the first with a single to center off an 0-2 pitch from Maeda. Two batters later, Ramirez drove a full count offering over the right field wall for the early SL lead.
The NL got on the board in the third when Pittsburgh’s Anthony Rendon drew a leadoff walk from Twin City’s Zach Plesac, advanced to second on a two-out wild pitch and scored on a single by Ottawa’s Michael Brantley. Cleveland’s Willi Castro followed with a single to put runners on the corners, but Plesac escaped by getting the Cobras’ Freddie Freeman to ground out.
The North threatened again two innings later, loading the bases against Darvish with two walks sandwiched around an error, but once again Freeman grounded out to end the grame.
The SL widened its advantage in the sixth against Toronto’s Kevin Gausman. Conforto reached on a one-out infield single and Paul Goldschmidt of host Compton coaxed a walk after falling in an 0-2 hole. Tijuana’s Kyle Seager then lined a single to left that was misplayed by the Tribe’s Marcell Ozuna, allowing Conforto to score. Goldschmidt then came across on Nimmo’s grounder to make it 4-1.
But the NL had a big opportunity in the seventh against the Truckers’ Dinelson Lamet. Pinch hitting for Rendon, Pittsburgh teammate Ke’Bryan Hayes led off with a triple and Tigers catcher Will Smith promptly singled him home. After a base hit by London’s Tim Anderson, Chicago’s Tim Locastro singled up the middle but Nimmo gunned down Smith trying at the plate.
Toronto’s Jeff McNeil singled to pack the sacks and chase Lamet as the Outlawz’s Shane Bieber entered to face the Tigers’ Brandon Belt pinch-hitting for Freeman. Belt delivered an RBI single to make it 4-3, but Locastro was forced out at home on Ozuna’s grounder to Seager at third, and Bieber whiffed Wildcats DH Nelson Cruz to douse the fire.
The South then responded in the bottom half against Toronto’s Nick Anderson. Elk shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. led off with a hit and crossed over to third on a two-out single by Dublin’s Mookie Betts. Conforto then drove both runners around by greeting Arsenal lefty Jake McGee with a double over Locastro’s head in right-center.
In the top of the eighth, the Tigers’ Clint Frazier drew a leadoff walk from Antone and Cardinals catcher Yan Gomes laced a one-out double down the left-field line. Tim Anderson delivered an RBI single to shallow center and Gomes scored on an Antone balk to make it 6-5. But Locasto struck out and McNeil grounded to second to end the final NL threat.
In an All-Star Game first, brothers Aaron and Austin Nola squared off against each other in the bottom of the fourth, with the Chicago righty hitting the St. Louis catcher on the elbow with an 0-2 fastball in an otherwise uneventful frame.
The South’s win evened the series at 10-10. Ramirez became the Dublin franchise’s third player named All-Star MVP, following Key West’s Alfonso Soriano in 2005 and Alex Rodriguez three years later. Gonsolin gave the Long Rifles their second winning pitcher in three seasons, following Max Scherzer in 2019.
Dublin ace Jacob deGrom has been named the South League’s All-Star Game starter for the third time in four seasons, while Vancouver’s Kenta Maeda will open on the mound for the North League.
Despite a modest 9-5 record, deGrom leads the PGBL with a 1.78 ERA and 199 strikeouts for the Guinness. However, he has struggled in his three previous All-Star outings, allowing at least one run in each game.
Maeda earned his second All-Star nod and first start by posting a 10-3 mark with a 2.20 ERA for the Wildcats, with a league-best 0.80 WHIP and 18 quality starts in 20 outings.
Nelson Cruz, Maeda’s Vancouver teammate, received his fifth All-Star invitation, topping the 42-player list of reserves and pitchers featuring 22 newcomers joining the 12 first-timers in the starting lineups.
Toronto led all teams with seven selections as pitchers Kevin Gausman, Nick Anderson and Edwin Diaz, first baseman Brandon Belt, second baseman Jeff McNeil and outfielder Clint Frazier join starting catcher Will Smith on the NL roster.
Chicago starting pitchers Gerrit Cole and Aaron Nola, younger brother of SL starting catcher Austin Nola, join Maeda and the trio of Tigers hurlers on the North staff. The remaining NL mound men are rookies Ian Anderson of the Cubs and Triston McKenzie of the Tribe, and relievers Jake McGee of the Arsenal and Liam Hendriks of the Cobras.
Three years after starting opposite each other, deGrom and Dublin teammate Yu Darvish are the only SL pitchers with All-Star experience and are accompanied on the staff by Guinness reliever A.J. Minter. The other South hurlers are Compton’s Shane Bieber, Twin City starters Dinelson Lamet and Zach Plesac, Memphis rookie relievers Victor Gonzalez and Tejay Antone, Louisville’s Tony Gonsolin and Aaron Slegers of Flagstaff.
First baseman Paul Goldschmit and outfielder Cody Bellinger of the Outlawz join Bieber and starting center fielder Max Kepler in giving host Compton four representatives for the game at Angel Stadium. Rounding out the South bench are catchers James McCann of Las Vegas and Carson Kelly of Oakland, St. Louis teammates Jake Cronenworth and Jeimer Candelario, Elk shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., third baseman Kyle Seager as Tijuana’s lone selection, and outfielders Mookie Betts of Dublin, Michael Conforto of Memphis and the Gamblers’ Brandon Nimmo.
Former All-Stars alongside Cruz on the North bench include Wildcats teammate Brandon Lowe, Chicago catcher Yan Gomes and Calgary infielder Wilmer Flores. An all-newcomer backup outfield includes the Cardinals’ Tim Locastro, Cleveland’s Marcell Ozuna and Franmil Reyes as Boston’s lone representative, while Cobras rookie Ke’Bryan Hayes completes NL’s list of reserves.
Left fielder Michael Brantley, the lone representative for reigning pennant-winner Ottawa, leads off for the North and will be followed by Cleveland rookie shortstop Willi Castro. Former All-Star MVP Freddie Freeman of Pittsburgh bats third, while the remainder of the batting order has London’s Teoscar Hernandez batting fourth in center field, then Brooklin DH Dominic Smith, Vancouver right fielder Alex Dickerson, Cobras third baseman Anthony Rendon, Will Smith behind the plate, and Arsenal second baseman Tim Anderson ninth.
The South lineup begins with Clydesdales second baseman DJ LeMahieu and continues with Melee right fielder Juan Soto, Guinness third baseman Jose Ramirez, St. Louis first baseman Jared Walsh cleaning up ahead of the backstop Nola, Kepler in center, Flagstaff DH Edwin Rios in the seven spot, Truckers left fielder Eloy Jimenez, and Athletes shortstop Trevor Story batting last.
NORTH LEAGUE ALL-STARS Pitchers Kenta Maeda, Vancouver (SP) Ian Anderson, Brooklyn Nick Anderson, Toronto Gerrit Cole, Chicago Edwin Diaz, Toronto Kevin Gausman, Toronto Liam Hendriks, Pittsburgh Jake McGee, London Triston McKenzie, Cleveland Aaron Nola, Chicago Reserves Yan Gomes, Chicago Brandon Belt, Toronto Wilmer Flores, Calgary Jeff McNeil, Toronto Brandon Lowe, Vancouver Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Tim Locastro, Chicago Clint Frazier, Toronto Franmil Reyes, Boston Marcell Ozuna, Cleveland Nelson Cruz, Vancouver Lineup LF – Michael Brantley SS – Willi Castro 1B – Freddie Freeman CF – Teoscar Hernandez DH – Dominic Smith RF – Alex Dickerson 3B – Anthony Rendon C – Will Smith 2B – Tim Anderson
SOUTH LEAGUE ALL-STARS Pitchers Jacob deGrom, Dublin (SP) Tejay Antone, Memphis Shane Bieber, Compton Yu Darvish, Dublin Tony Gonsolin, Louisville Victor Gonzalez, Memphis Dinelson Lamet, Twin City A.J. Minter, Dublin Zach Plesac, Twin City Aaron Slegers, Flagstaff Reserves Carson Kelly, Oakland James McCann, Las Vegas Paul Goldschmidt, Compton Jake Cronenworth, St. Louis Kyle Seager, Tijuana Jeimer Candelario, St. Louis Fernando Tatis Jr., Flagstaff Cody Bellinger, Compton Mookie Betts, Dublin Michael Conforto, Memphis Brandon Nimmo, Las Vegas Lineup 2B – DJ LeMahieu RF – Juan Soto 3B – Jose Ramirez 1B – Jared Walsh C – Austin Nola CF – Max Kepler DH – Edwin Rios LF – Eloy Jimenez SS – Trevor Story