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

Key Homers, Plenty of Strikeouts power SL

CALGARY, Alberta – Cody Bellinger and Carlos Santana homered in a three-run fourth inning that propelled the South League to an 8-2 win in the PGBL All-Star Game at Minute Maid Park.

The SL prevailed for the third time in four years as 10 pitchers racked up 14 strikeouts while scattering six hits. Ten of the strikeouts came from the first four hurlers: Oakland’s duo of Mike Clevinger (three) and Max Scherzer (two), followed by St. Louis teammates Hyun-Jin Ryu (two) and Lance Lynn (three).

Compton’s Bellinger broke a scoreless deadlock with a solo shot down the right field line off Pittsburgh’s Mike Soroka. The NL then turned to Boston’s John Gant, who got Jorge Soler to ground out before walking Louisville’s Yoan Moncada.

Santana then blasted a 1-2 pitch deep into the right field stands for a 3-0, earning him MVP honors.

The NL mounted a rally in the sixth, loading the bases with nobody out against Dublin’s Jacob deGrom. But the Guinness righty got London’s Ketel Marte to ground to Santana, who threw home to force out Chicago’s Mike Trout.

Pittsburgh’s Freddie Freeman grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice that plated Cobras teammate Ronald Acuna Jr., but deGrom avoided further damage by getting the Braves’ Jonathan Villar on a third straight ground out.

The South broke the game open in the eighth, loading the bases with two outs against Chicago’s Ken Giles before Memphis’ Juan Soto greeted Brooklyn’s Joe Jimenez with a two-run single. After a double steal by Dublin’s Mookie Betts and Soto, the Outlawz’s Eugenio Suarez drove them both home with a single off Cleveland’s Taylor Rogers.

The SL pushed the lead to 8-1 in the ninth when the Clydesdales’ Carson Kelly came in on a ground out by St. Louis teammate Jorge Polanco. After Vancouver’s Brandon Lowe smacked a two-out solo homer to center off Compton’s Scott Oberg in the bottom half, host Calgary’s Mitch Garver popped out on the next pitch to end the game.

Acuna singled twice as the only player with multiple hits. Ryu earned the win while Soroka took the loss.

Box score

Verlander, Clevinger tabbed to start All-Star Game; Reserves Announced

Justin Verlander of the Chicago Cardinals will start on the mound for the host North League in the 2020 All-Star Game, with Oakland Athletes ace Mike Clevinger starting for the South League.

Verlander, who will make his second start in his third All-Star appearance, enters the break with an 11-4 record and an NL-best 2.26 ERA. Clevinger will make his All-Star debut after going 13-0 with a league-leading 2.23 ERA in the first half.

Oakland, with a staggering record of 71-18, led the way with six All-Star selections with rosters expanded to 30 players. Chicago and Ottawa each had five players chosen, followed by Compton, Dublin, St. Louis and Flagstaff with four apiece. Las Vegas and Twin City were the only teams with just one representative, with Eric Sogard picked from the Gamblers and Nick Castellanos getting the Truckers’ nod.

Oakland pitcher Max Scherzer was picked for the sixth time (three in each league), matching Chris Sale for the most selections without a start. Sonny Gray will join Scherzer on the staff from the Athletes, who have three batters in the starting lineup but no bench players.

Dublin’s Jacob deGrom makes his third straight appearance after starting the past two years. He is joined on the SL staff by Guinness teammate Trevor Gott, Clydesdales starters Hyun-Jin Ryu and Lance Lynn, Outlawz relievers Tyler Glasnow and Scott Oberg, and Elk closer Hansel Robles.

Verlander is one of four Cardinals pitchers on the NL squad, joining Charlie Morton, Zack Britton and Ken Giles. The rest of the North staff features Ottawa’s Lucas Giolito, Pittsburgh’s Mike Soroka, Boston’s John Hicks, Brooklyn’s Joe Jimenez, Cleveland’s Taylor Rogers and Vancouver stopper Steve Cishek.

The NL-leading Wildcats did not have any starters but will be represented on the bench by Brandon Lowe and Nelson Cruz. Batting leader Luiz Arraez of the Argonauts headlines the infield reserves, joined by the Cubs’ Miguel Sano and Braves teammates Jonathan Villar and Jeff McNeil.

Catcher Mitch Garver joins starting DH J.D. Martinez in representing the host Calgary Roughnecks, while the London outfield duo of Ketel Marte and George Springer, the Cobras’ Ronald Acuna Jr., and Tribe slugger Bryce Harper complete the NL roster.

The remainder of the SL bench features Memphis outfielders Juan Soto and Aristides Aquino, shortstop Marcus Semien and outfielder Charlie Blackmon from Tijuana, catcher Carson Kelly and shortstop Jorge Polanco from St. Louis, Dublin outfielder Mookie Betts, Compton third baseman Eugenio Suarez, and Flagstaff first baseman Josh Bell.

SOUTH LEAGUE ALL-STARS
Pitchers

Mike Clevinger, Oakland (SP)
Jacob deGrom, Dublin
Max Scherzer, Oakland
Hyun-Jin Ryu, St. Louis
Sonny Gray, Oakland
Lance Lynn, St. Louis
Hansel Robles, Flagstaff
Tyler Glasnow, Compton
Trevor Gott, Dublin
Scott Oberg, Compton
Reserves
Carson Kelly, St. Louis
Josh Bell, Flagstaff
Eric Sogard, Las Vegas
Jorge Polanco, St. Louis
Marcus Semien, Tijuana
Eugenio Suarez, Compton
Mookie Betts, Dublin
Juan Soto, Memphis
Nick Castellanos, Twin City
Charlie Blackmon, Tijuana
Aristides Aquino, Memphis
Lineup
SS – Fernando Tatis Jr., Flagstaff
LF – Christian Yelich, Louisville
DH – Yordan Alvarez, Flagstaff
CF – Cody Bellinger, Compton
RF – Jorge Soler, Oakland
3B – Yoan Moncada, Louisville
1B – Carlos Santana, Oakland
C – Willson Contreras, Dublin
2B – DJ LeMahieu, Oakland

NORTH LEAGUE ALL-STARS
Pitchers

Justin Verlander, Chicago (SP)
Mike Soroka, Pittsburgh
Lucas Giolito, Ottawa
Charlie Morton, Chicago
John Gant, Boston
Joe Jimenez, Brooklyn
Zack Britton, Chicago
Taylor Rogers, Cleveland
Ken Giles, Chicago
Steve Cishek, Vancouver
Reserves
Mitch Garver, Calgary
Brandon Lowe, Vancouver
Luis Arraez, Ottawa
Jonathan Villar, Boston
Miguel Sano, Brooklyn
Jeff McNeil, Boston
Ketel Marte, London
George Springer, London
Bryce Harper, Cleveland
Ronald Acuna, Pittsburgh
Nelson Cruz, Vancouver
Lineup
2B – Jose Altuve, Toronto
CF – Mike Trout, Chicago
3B – Josh Donaldson, Ottawa
LF – Joc Pederson, London
DH – J.D. Martinez, Calgary
1B – Freddie Freeman, Pittsburgh
SS – Carlos Correa, Ottawa
C – Russell Martin, Ottawa
RF – Austin Meadows, Toronto

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