Season 9 ALL-STAR GAME RECAP
The Season 9 All-Star Game was held in Charlestown, which is actually a fictitious town from the movie Slap Shot (starring Paul Newman). That movie was actually filmed in Johnstown, PA, so I guess that's where our All-Star Game was played.
Derrel Thomas was named ASG MVP for the 2nd time, going 3 for 7 with 3 RBIs for the South Pacific
The first pitches were thrown out by some of the actors from the cult classic, including Newman, and 2 of the three Hanson brothers.
Starters Dave LaPoint and Dave Burba both started strong, retiring the opposing batters in order in the 1st inning. It was another 3-up, 3-down half-inning for LaPoint in the 2nd as he finished his ASG appearance in perfect fashion, but in the bottom of the 2nd inning, 1st-half phenom Bernardo Brito got the NorthEast-Atlantic crew on the board with a towering lead-off HR off Burba to straight-away centerfield. Burba retired the next 3 batters in order.
South Pacific bats stayed silent through the 3rd and 4th innings while their counterparts built up a big lead. In the bottom of the 3rd, Terry Kennedy and Johnny Logan singled to start off the inning, Lonny Frey doubled home Kennedy, and then Mike Adams hit a sac fly to score Logan. After Brito struck out, Marv Throneberry doubled to right-center to score Frey, giving the home side a 4-0 lead. In the bottom of the 4th, they would add another when Logan's deep sac-fly with the bases loaded managed to score Steve Balboni from 3rd, even though Balboni seemed to take forever to cross home plate. Bob Veale escaped further damage by striking out Frey and getting Adams on a come-backer to end the inning.
In the top of the 5th, the South Pacific bats suddenly came to life, as they scored 4 times off Mickey McDermott and Kevin Saucier to close to within 1 run. Jamie Quirk started things off with a ground-rule double. Johnny Rucker singled, just over the head of 3rd baseman Alvin Dark to move Quirk to 3rd. Quirk then scored on a sac fly by Max Bishop. After a Bill Bruton strikeout, Ossie Bluege singled and Derrel Thomas tripled home 2 runs on a scorcher down the 1st base line. Thomas then scored the 4th run of the frame when Eddie Joost's bloop single fell just in front of left-fielder Mike Adams.
The South Pacific bats weren't done yet, as they added 3 more runs in the 6th to take a 7-5 lead. Quirk started things off again with a 1-out single. Rucker then singled, followed by a 2-run double by Bishop. Two batters later, Derrel Thomas would get his 3rd RBI of the game with a single up the middle.
The pitching took over for both sides for the next few innings, but the 9th inning proved to be high drama and classic BNBL entertainment for the dozens of fans who somehow discovered where the game was being played and got past the security guards (actually, just guard, singular, as Charlestown only had funds to hire one guard, named Jed, to patrol the entire stadium grounds.
In the top of 9, it looked like the South Pacific side put the game out of reach when U.L. Washington singled and later scored on an Ed Ott knock to right, giving the visitors a 3-run lead going to the bottom of the ninth. But Rich Hand struggled mightily, yielding a lead-off single to Jack Barry and a 4-pitch walk to Mark Grudzielanek to start off the inning. After getting Tommy Davis on a weak ground-out to first, Brito, who had struck out in his previous 3 trips to the plate, managed a sac fly to right field to score Barry. Greg Brock then stepped to the plate and tied the game with one swing of the bat, drilling a first-pitch hanging curve over the fence in left-center field, knotting the score at 8.
Each team was already on their last pitcher at this point, so Lee Viau for the NorthEast-Atlantic, and Hand for the South-Pacific had to go the rest of the way. The rest of the way proved to be a long, long way for both pitchers, as they managed to keep the hitters relatively silent, scattering 3 hits apiece through the next 4 innings.
We would go to the 14th inning. The South-Pacific hitters had apparently had enough of this All-Star Game, as they came out swinging. Gus Triandos doubled down the 3rd-base line, Ed Ott singled him to 3rd, and Ron Kittle drove him in with a deep sac-fly to right-center. They couldn't score Ott for an insurance run, but a 1-run lead proved to be enough for Hand, who finished off Brito, Brock, and Richie Hebner for the 9-8 win, their 4th All-Star Game victory in a row, giving them a 5-4 edge in the all-time All-Star Series.
Hand would have likely been named the game's MVP for his stellar work through all 5 extra innings, including retiring the last 8 men he faced, but he was also the one who gave up 3 in the bottom of the night to let the home team back into the game and sending it to extras in the first place.
Derrel Thomas was given MVP honours for the 2nd time in 3 years, going 3 for 7 with a single, a double, and a triple along with 3 RBIs for the winning side. Thomas was also named coolest BNBLer of the game by his fellow players for rocking those shades, even though the game was played under a cloudy afternoon sky which turned to dusk as the later innings progressed.
Congrats to the winners, and good luck to everyone in the 2nd half. For more info on the game, please contact your commissioner. The Season 10 All-Star Game will be held in the Gas-House in Southern California, not far from the Warner Brothers Studios.