Troy- The southern all-stars defeated the northern all-stars Tuesday night 5-2 in front of 5,012 fans at Joe Bruno Stadium. In what started off as a quiet offensive night for both teams, the south used a three-run 9th inning to take the lead and ultimately win their second straight NYPL all-star game over the north.
It was tough luck for ValleyCats reliever Reggie Johnson, who was responsible for the three runs in the top of the 9th. He pitched the whole inning surrendering three earned runs on four hits while striking out two southerners.
The scoring started when the south took the lead in the top of the 5th as Oscar Gonzalez of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers singled home a run to give south a 1-0 lead. It did not take long for the north to respond as Zacrey Law of the Hudson Valley Renegades hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 6th to tie the game at one a piece.
The south reclaimed the lead in the top of the seventh when Tristan Gray of the West Virginia Black Bears hit a solo home run to center making it 2-1. Then in the bottom of the eighth, the north tied it back up at two when Colby Bortles, brother of quarterback Blake, of the Connecticut Tigers hit a solo home run to center field.
A leadoff single followed by a double for the south in the top of the 9th led to Joshua Lopez of the State College Spikes singling in both runners to take a 4-2 lead. Lopez scored later in the inning on a Gray single to plate the fifth and final run of the game.
Reggie Johnson spoke after the game on his outing in the 9th. “I was just throwing fastballs and they were sitting on it,” Johnson said about his performance. Johnson was also one of two undrafted free agents to play in the NYPL all-star game. “It was definitely an honor (to be one of two UDFA to play) and I just wanted to take it all in and have fun,” Johnson said.
ValleyCats manager Morgan Ensberg was in new territory coaching his first all-star game tonight, and faced a new situation in managing an exhibition game rather than a regular season game. “The most important thing when managing a game like this is not to get guys hurt. We want to make sure no one does anything stupid in the exhibition, it’s fun for the fans to come watch future major leaguers but we don’t want to get someone hurt,” Ensberg said.
ValleyCats in this game: JJ Matijevic finished 2-3 on the night with a double and a single. Andy Pineda went 0-2 on the night with a strikeout. Pitcher Hunter Martin took the place of Nathan Thompson who was promoted to Quad Cities not long ago. Martin pitched an inning recording one strikeout while giving up no runs on no hits. To reitterate, Reggie Johnson pitched the 9th inning giving up three earned runs on four hits while striking out two.
OF NOTE: ValleyCats Jake Adams won the home run derby prior to the game despite not being on the all-star roster.
The ValleyCats pick up their season tomorrow starting a three game series with Hudson Valley at 7:00 p.m. at Joe Bruno Stadium.