With so many players to shuffle in and out in an all-star game playing time can be scarce, so a player must make the best of their limited opportunity, and that’s precisely what Post 28’s representatives did when they traveled up to New Castle on July 31 to take part in the American Legion All-Star game at Wilson Field.
The Northern Delaware All-Stars defeated the south 10-5 in the nine-inning game, after jumping out to 3-1 lead after the first inning.
Post 28’s outfielder Justin Collins, third baseman Jay Marsh and catcher D.J. Clark would all start the game for the Southern All-Stars, and each would make an impact immediately.
The Northern All-Stars grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning but the Warriors representatives would change the tide of the game with their limited opportunities. Following a leadoff groundout by Sussex West centerfielder B.J. Jenkins, Collins flared a ball to deep second for a single to give the Southern All-Stars their first base runner.
Dover’s Alex Carter grounded one up the middle for another single to give the South runners on first and second. A botched double play attempt on a Tyler Townsend (Steevers) ground ball would score Collins from second base to tie the game at one apiece.
Jay Marsh started the game at his usual third base position, and with a 1-1 count he stroked a RBI single to score Carter and giving the south a 2-1 lead. Steever’s Scott Shockley was called out looking on a full count strikeout by Stahl pitcher Dan Perkins.
Perkins would strikeout three of the ten batters he faced in the maximum two innings allotted each pitcher.
“It’s a good experience playing with so many great players. It gives us a good look at what we are facing going into the playoffs,” said Marsh.
“It was especially good to see that first pitcher [Perkins] since we didn’t get the chance to play Stahl this year,” continued Marsh. “He was good.”
Clark batted sixth in the southern lineup and he fell behind in the count 1-2 before fouling one off the hands and watching a past pitch go by to move the runners into scoring position before he slapped a RBI single into shallow right-center field.
Clark’s single would score Townsend but Marsh was waved home and nailed by a mile by RC Dupont catcher Dave Lavin.
“If it wasn’t illegal I would’ve run him over,” said Marsh.
Nevertheless, all three of Post 28’s starting representatives were instrumental in capturing their 3-1 lead going into the second inning.
The Southern All-Stars would retire the next three Northern All-stars to head into the bottom of the second inning where with two outs Jenkins singled for a chance at more runs.
Collins patiently waited for a decent pitch that never came and following a 3-1 count, drew the walk to give the Southern All-Stars a runner in scoring position.
The hard fought efforts of Jenkins and Collins would be for naught because Dover’s Carter would strike out swinging on a nasty breaking pitch from Perkins.
In the third inning, Marsh tattooed a ball to deep left field (Stahl field is 360-375 feet deep) before it died and fell into an awaiting glove.
“I wish I could’ve had more of an opportunity to help the team win today,” said Marsh. “I felt good today.”
The Southern All-Stars lead would be safe for the next two innings because the Warriors inning eater James Davis replaced the starting pitcher Jason Wyatt from Steevers.
Davis would get into trouble early by giving up a leadoff double and then a single into right field, but a conscientious Collins had enough time to bare hand the ball off the hop and rifle the toss to an awaiting Marsh for the tag at third.
The laser from right field to third was made in plenty of time and Davis had plenty of room to work now that the North only had a runner on first.
Davis struck out the next two batters — the first one went down swinging while the other could only sit and watch.
Davis got ahead in the count throughout, which forced the Northern batters to extend the strike zone and make poor decisions swinging the bat. Mark Nevello of Delvets fouled back two straight after drawing a 1-2 count before getting punched out on a hard breaking pitch. His Delvet teammate B.J. Tigani thought he had drawn a full count following a nicely positioned Davis pitch that kissed the corner of the plate for strike three to end the inning.
Davis would work the top of the fourth in three-up three-down fashion to set the stage for the hard-throwing Dover Post 2 pitcher Matt Carey.
Carey would surrender four runs in his two innings of work that would all but seal the game to give the Northern All-Stars a 7-3 advantage. The Southern All-Stars would get a golden opportunity in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded to cut the lead.
Wyatt, Milford’s Matt Starkey and Dover’s Frank Outten all reached base (single and two walks) and an errant pitch to Steever’s Billy Cunningham would score a run. Wyatt would motor across to pull the South within three runs and Cunningham would launch one to the outfield to score Starkey on a sacrifice fly to further cut the lead to 7-5.
Davis and Dover’s Jimmy Johnson would surrender the final two outs to end the inning.
The game would end in the North’s favor, but in the playoffs, the South has prevailed as of late.
“The past three or four years, the South has won the league championship,” said Warriors Head Coach Mearl Layton.
The Warriors played Milford in the first round of the league tournament at Schutte Park in Dover on Aug. 3 at 1 p.m. Games following that date will be played at Georgetown Little League.