Dublin’s Ramirez Sparks SL To 3rd Straight All-Star Win

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.

Links: Box score | All-Star history | All-Star Game details

DeGrom Tabbed For 3rd All-Star Start; Maeda Gets NL Call

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

12 First-Timers To Start 2021 All-Star Game; Freeman Gets 5th Nod

Pittsburgh Cobras first baseman Freddie Freeman has been picked to start the PGBL All-Star Game for the fifth time, joining a North League lineup featuring seven first-timers while the South League adds five newcomers.

Freeman will make his third straight start and joins Cobras teammate Anthony Rendon as the only former All-Star among the NL starters. Rendon is making his first start after being selected as a reserve two years ago.

St. Louis second baseman DJ LeMahieu, making his third appearance representing a third different team, is the only player in the SL lineup previously chosen to start. South returnees making their first starts are Memphis outfielder Juan Soto, Oakland shortstop Trevor Story and Dublin third baseman Jose Ramirez.

LeMahieu is one of three Clydesdales teammates tabbed to start, along with catcher Austin Nola and rookie first baseman Jared Walsh. Outfielders Max Kepler of host Compton and Eloy Jimenez of Twin City and designated hitter Edwin Rios of Flagstaff round out the lineup.

London joins Pittsburgh as the only team with two representatives starting for the NL, with outfielder Teoscar Hernandez and second baseman Tim Anderson making their All-Star debuts. Joining Hernandez in the North outfield are Ottawa’s Michael Brantley and Vancouver’s Alex Dickerson. The remaining NL starters are Brooklyn DH Dominic Smith, Toronto catcher Will Smith and Cleveland shortstop Willi Castro.

2021 ALL-STAR STARTERS
North League

C – Will Smith, Toronto
1B – Freddie Freeman, Pittsburgh
2B – Tim Anderson, London
SS – Willi Castro, Cleveland
3B – Anthony Rendon, Pittsburgh
LF – Michael Brantley, Ottawa
CF – Teoscar Hernandez, London
RF – Alex Dickerson, Vancouver
DH – Dominic Smith, Brooklyn
South League
C – Austin Nola, St. Louis
1B – Jared Walsh, St. Louis
2B – DJ LeMahieu, St. Louis
SS – Trevor Story, Oakland
3B – Jose Ramirez, Dublin
LF – Eloy Jimenez, Twin City
CF – Juan Soto, Memphis
RF – Max Kepler, Compton
DH – Edwin Rios, Flagstaff