North Defeats the South in 19th Northwoods League All Star Game
Good pitching, timely hitting and sound defense. That's the expectation of an All-Star Game, and the 19thAnnual Northwoods League All-Star game lived up to the billing as the North All-Stars defeated the South All-Stars 7-5 in front of 2,789 fans at Carson Park in Eau Claire, home of the Express.
In an extremely festive day in Eau Claire that saw a great Marshfield Clinic Home Run Derby earlier in the night, the game itself capped off the celebration of the league's best players.
The North got things started early in the top of the second as they put up four runs. After Home Run Derby champ Adam Martin from the St. Cloud Rox walked, Willmar's Marc Flores hit a two-run shot to the Fan Deck to give the North a 2-0 lead. Later in the inning, Rochester's Carter Burgess drove in Chase Simpson on an RBI single. To cap things off, Willmar's Michael Suchy drew a walk with the bases loaded to score Burgess.
But the thing about an All-Star exhibition is that both teams are very even. The South proved that to be true as they answered right back to score in the bottom of the second to tie the game on a pair of two-run singles.
Battle Creek's Cam Gibson had a two-run single to plate Lakeshore's Ryan Krill and Wisconsin Rapids' Donnie Dewees. Two batters later, Madison's Drew Weeks drove in Lakeshore's Sawyer Polen as well as Gibson.
The North, however, took the lead for good in the top of the fourth as Suchy doubled in Duluth's Keith Curcio.
The North then tacked on two more runs in the top of the sixth as Mankato's Matt Wollenzin had a two-RBI double with the bases loaded to plate Alexandria's Georgie Salem and Burgess.
But once again, the South fought back and made things very interesting in the bottom of the ninth inning. After two men reached to start the inning, Lakeshore's Mike Hollenbeck singled to score Madison's John LaPrise.
The All-Star game is all about great players making great plays, and that's exactly how Burgess ended the game. Representing the winning run, Green Bay's Boomer White smashed one up the middle that looked like it was heading into centerfield for a base hit. But Burgess laid out and made an unbelievable stop to end the game to rob his high school teammate giving the North a 7-5 win.
For his efforts Burgess was named the game's MVP. He finished the night 2 for 5 with a double, single and an RBI.
Thunder Bay's Zach Thiac earned the win while Battle Creek's Hunter Devall took home the loss.
The event wrapped up a great All-Star weekend in Eau Claire. It was a great way to celebrate the best of the very best the Northwoods League has to offer.
With fresh batteries, teams still in contention for second half championships will be sure to make an exciting end to the 20th season of Northwoods League baseball.
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