Season 4 ALL-STAR GAME RECAP
Lick Skillet was the place to be for the 4th BNBL All-Star Game on Saturday night (that's the first time in history that Lick Skillet has ever been "the place to be") as the South Pacific stars hosted the East-Midwesterners. A Colonel Sanders impersonator sang the national anthem with a bucket of finger-lickin'-good chicken in one hand and a megaphone in the other. Apparently they don't have a working sound system in the stadium and have been using a megaphone for anthems and announcements since the BNBL began. Proceeds from the All-Star game will be used for park upgrades. ... Or more moonshine. We'll have to wait and see on that one.
Steve Balboni was named MVP of the 4th BNBL All-Star Game for the East-Midwest stars
The game turned out to be a hit parade, with EastMidwest outhitting their opponents 20 to 19 on their way to an 11-7 victory. Rumor has it that there were some moonshine stands set up in the bullpens but not the dugouts, which would account for the pitchers all being a bit on the wobbly side, although there were a few exceptions. The two Starting Pitchers actually fared very well, as the bats didn't really come alive until the 3rd inning, after both starters were done for the day. South Pacific's starter, Dave Morehead did give up a leadoff single to Jim King to start the game, but he then retired then next 3 batters he faced. And in the 2nd inning, he escaped without a run after a leadoff double by eventual Game MVP Steve Balboni. He also hit Tim Teufel in the shoulder later in the inning, but both runners were stranded.
Meanwhile, Jim Rooker also escaped the first two innings unscathed, giving up three singles over his two innings, with no runners getting passed second base. But then the offenses started to click.
In the top of the 3rd inning, with Tom Phoebus pitching for South Pacific, Jim King led off with his second hit of the game, this one a liner to the gap in left-center field. Gene Michael singled him home with an opposite-fielder. After a walk to Jim Northrup moved Michael to 2nd, Ken Harrelson singled up the middle and Michael scampered home just ahead of the throw from center-fielder R.J. Reynolds. Phoebus retired the next three batters in order.
South Pacific tied it up in the bottom of the 3rd off Bob Veale, as U.L. Washington started the inning off with a triple down the right field line. After R.J. Reynolds struck out, the next two batters walked, loading the bases for Tony Armas, whose single up the middle scored two runs to knot the game at 2 apiece.
East-MidWest took a 1-run lead in the top of the 4th on a deep sacrifice fly by Gene Michael that scored Milt May. May had singled with one out and then reached third on a double by Jim King, King's third hit of the day. Bart Johnson was on the mound for South Pacific and managed to get out of the inning without another run.
Bill Singer retired all three batters he faced in the bottom of the 4th. Singer must have avoided the moonshine in the bullpen, as he looked sharp, inducing two easy pop-ups and a weak ground out from Bergman, Lopez, and Washington, respectively.
East-Midwest added to their lead in the top of the 5th on a booming Home Run by Steve Balboni. Balboni tore the cover off the ball, hitting a John Denny offering over the Center Field fence, over the center-field bleachers, and into farmer Ned Brackenridge's cotton field.
South Pacific would answer back in the bottom of 5, tying the score at 4 with a pair of runs off of Chuck Stobb. R.J. Reynolds led off with a double, and after an Andy Seminick fly-out, he was doubled home by Barry Foote. Armas followed with a single, advancing Foote to 3rd base. Then Dean Palmer drilled a single to left field, scoring Foote with the tying run.
Denny Galehouse and Ken Patterson quieted the East-Midwest bats in the top of the 6th, and then South Pacific took the lead in the bottom half of the inning courtesy of RBI singles by R.J. Reynolds and Tony Armas, scoring Hector Lopez and Reynolds, respectively, giving their side a 6-4 lead.
Most of the subs entered the game in the 7th inning. The East-Midwest squad couldn't score in their half of the 7th against Terry Forster and Thad Tillotson, but South Pacific added to their lead with three singles off Dave Goltz by Ted Uhlaender, Craig Kusick, and Craig Reynolds. With the bases loaded and two out, Kevin Maas singled home Uhlaender to give South Pacific a 7-4 lead. They stranded the bases loaded, though, as Dave Tomlin struck out Earl Williams to end the inning.
The East-Midwestern bats came back to life in the top of 8 as they scored three times to tie the game at 7. Lyn Lary doubled to lead off, Mike Adams doubled him home, and then Harrelson tied it with a home run down the line that barely stayed fair of the foul pole (which was a bunch of old barn wood nailed together in a zig-zaggy fashion and definitely not a straight line. South Pacific would protest the call, but since Lick Skillet was technically their home park for the day, they didn't really have a leg to stand on, and the protest was thrown out.
Relievers Storm Davis and Gary Lavelle silenced the South Pacific bats in the bottom half of the 8th before the East-Midwest bats came alive again in the top of 9 to build up what would prove to be an insurmountable lead. They would score 4 times in the 9th, all off the South Pacific's last pitcher standing, Salomon Torres. Chris Bando led off with a single, followed by a walk to Jim King who played the entire game for the East-Midwest crew. Lyn Lary hit an RBI single up the middle, followed by a single from Mike Adams to load the bases. After Harrelson struck out, Balboni doubled home 2 runs to the gap in Right-Centerfield. Two batters later, Wayne Comer would get his third single of the game, this one driving in Balboni to give East-MidWest a commanding 11-7 lead. Torres finally struck out Dan Monzon to end the inning, and he ended the inning with three strikeouts, but the damage was done.
South Pacific couldn't mount a comeback in the bottom of the 9th, as Ray Moore did let the first two runners reach base (both named Reynolds), but then finished off Maas, Earl Williams, and Tom Tresh without allowing a run to score.
Balboni was awarded the MVP, but it could have gone to a number of others who had exceptional days at the plate. The players were all glad to get away from the outhouses of Lick Skillet and back to civilization. Thanks for reading! The second half starts tonight! Good luck to all!