STATE COLLEGE - The Staten Island Yankees stole the show at Tuesday's New York-Penn League All-Star game.
In the top of the seventh inning, Zolio Almonte singled home the eventual winning run and MVP Jimmy Paredes slugged a two-run home run in the next at-bat to lift the American League All-Stars to a 4-2 win over their National League counterparts at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in State College.
What made it even worse for the hometown crowd was that the damage came at the expense of State College Spikes pitcher Zach Foster, who took the loss.
Sentinel photos by CHRISTOPHER?SHANNON
Spikes’ pitcher Phillip Irwin unleashes a ball during the second inning of the New York-Penn League All-Star Game in State College Tuesday.
The National League looked to be putting together a strong first inning, thanks in large part to the Williamsport Crosscutters. Leandro Castro singled to left field followed by a a walk to Jeremy Barnes to put a pair on with none out in the NL's first turn at the dish. But a line drive off the bat of Brooklyn's Sam Honeck led to Castro being picked off second for a quick and inning-killing double play. Alan Ahmady was caught looking at a third strike to end the frame.
It was the first of a few frustrating moments for the NL squad.
In the third, Castro ripped a two-out double just inside the left-field line only to be stranded there. A one-out single in the sixth by Williamsport's Francisco Murillo went for naught as well.
One of the few bright spots offensively for the central Pa. teams was a ninth-inning run by Brock Holt that closed the gap to two, but it was as close as the senior circuit affiliates got.
The local contingent fared much better on the hill with the exception of Foster. State College's Phillip Irwin tossed a perfect second inning in front of the home crowd.
"We got a great ovation from the home crowd during introductions and again when we got in the game," Irwin said. "It was really nice to have that comfort out there with a lot of people in the stands. I didn't really change my game plan. I just tried to throw strikes like I always do and keep the ball down."
Williamsport's Austin Hyatt retired the only two batters he faced - the final out of the eighth and the first of the ninth.
"It's an honor to even be here and to get a chance to pitch," Hyatt said. "Unfortunately we didn't come out on top but it's a great time to be here."
The junior circuit stars drew first blood in the foruth when Auburn's Welinton Ramirez blasted an Evan Bronson pitch over the left-field wall for a 1-0 lead.
Tri-City's J.D. Martinez evened the ledger when he sent an Egan Smith pitch to nearly the same spot in left as Ramirez's ball in the fifth and the game remained tied until the disastrous seventh from Foster.
Mahoning Valley's Cory Burns replaced Scrappers teammate Clayton Cook in the ninth to get the save. Aberdeen's Jake Smith tossed a scoreless sixth inning to earn the victory for the American League.
NOTES: The American League now holds a 3-2 lead all-time in the NYPL All-Star Game. Due to a rain shower that passed through the State College area Tuesday afternoon, American League batting practice was held indoors. Both teams still had their autograph sessions as planned. The National League team won the pre-game home run derby. Kent Tekulve (NL) and Al Bumbry (AL) served as honorary coaches for the two teams.