A day of West Coast League revelry ended with a 3-0 South win over the North before a crowd of 1,985 at Joe Martin Field in Bellingham, Washington at the 2015 WCL All-Star Game presented by John Howie Restaurants.
Before the game Bells’ owner Eddie Poplawski spoke about the All-Star Game’s return to Bellingham. “This was big not just for the Bells but for the entire Bellingham community. We get such great support here, to bring the best talent in the West Coast League to these fans is one of those really cool moments in life.”
The Bend Elks were the most represented club of the 12-team West Coast League, sending eight players to the league’s mid-summer classic. The host Bellingham Bells were the most represented team on the North roster with seven all-stars.
Bells’ head coach Jeff James skippered the North and gave the start to Andrew Kemmerer of Central Arkansas. Kemmerer worked just an inning, like all of the pitchers on this night, and it was a perfect inning.
The seventh installment of the West Coast League League All-Star Game was marked by good pitching.
The North did not register a hit or even a base runner until the fifth inning.
Corvallis Knights ace Slater Lee of Cal Poly got the start for the South; managed by Knights’ head coach Brooke Knight. Like Kemmerer, Lee set down the North one, two, three in his only inning of work.
The scoreless tie was finally broken in the top of the third inning. Cowlitz’s Lorin Archibald of Lower Columbia and future Kansas State Wildcat Jake Scudder of the Kitsap BlueJackets led off the inning with back-to-back singles to right. A one-out ground out to short by Bend’s West Tunnell of Baylor would plate the game’s first run and give the South a 1-0 lead.
Jake Scudder’s single was the first of two hits for the BlueJackets first basemen. He added a walk in the fifth and went two-for-three on the night to earn WCL All-Star Game MVP honors. He is the second BlueJacket to be named an All-Star Game MVP. Kitsap’s Brandon Kuykendall was a co-MVP at the 2007 All-Star Game also played at Joe Martin Field in Bellingham. Scudder, who played last spring at Iowa Western CC, was the only player other than Kelowna’s Justin Flores of Cal State Monterey (who went 2-for-4) in the game to collect more than one hit.
The South scored single runs in the seventh and eighth innings. The South’s run in the seventh was unearned as future Oregon State Beaver Cadyn Grenier of the Bend Elks reached on a dropped fly ball and proceeded to steal second and third, and then scored on a wild pitch.
Special guest former Seattle Mariners pitcher Jamie Moyer said of the inning, “That’s what a manufactured run looks like. It’s what you need to do in a game where the pitching dominates like it did tonight.”
A lead-off double and two-out double, the only two extra base hits of the game, plated the game’s final run as Bend’s Tunnell doubled to lead off the eighth and Elks’ catcher Louis Wolf of Mt. Hood CC knocked in Tunnell with a two-out RBI double.
Nine South pitchers combined on a 5-hit shutout of the North with Bend’s Patrick McGuff of Morehead State being credited with the win and Corvallis’ Ryan Walker of Washington State earning the save.
Prior to the All-Star Game Kelowna’s Hunter Villanueva of Fresno Pacific edged Tunnell in the ASG Home Run Derby as the Falcons’ slugger blasted five homers to Tunnell’s four roundtrippers.
Cadyn Grenier was named the game’s top prospect by Seattle Mariners director of amateur scouting Tom McNamara.
The 2016 WCL All-Star Game is slated to be hosted by the Cowlitz Black Bears at David Story Field in Longview, Washington.
Box Score: South 3, North 0