Six members total between the Akron RubberDucks and Columbus Clippers earned the honor of playing in their respective league’s All-Star Games this week and several took advantage of the opportunity on a big stage to shine.
The International League faced off with the Pacific Coast League on Wednesday night from Tacoma, Washington. A four-run fourth inning by the PCL All-Stars would prove to be too much for the IL squad to overcome in a 6-4 contest. Columbus’ Richie Shaffer was one of the players to best utilize his time as his performance for the losing squad earned him the league’s All-Star Game MVP award.
Shaffer got the start for the IL team, playing designated hitter and hitting cleanup in the order. He was still in a home run state of mind after participating in the Home Run Derby earlier in the All-Star Game activities and brought the boom stick with him to the plate, recording the first hit and run of the contest with a solo drive to right-center to put the International League up for the only time on the night.
The PCL would tie the game with a run in the bottom of the second and took a 5-1 lead after the four-run fourth.
Shaffer would get another at bat in the third, striking out swinging, but came up again in the fifth and contributed to the scoring one more time. After Willy Adames made it a 5-2 game with a solo homer to start the inning, the IL put two on with two outs for Shaffer, who doubled to right to drive home a second run in the inning. A groundout to end the inning stranded a pair with the score 5-3.
Shaffer was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
Eric Stamets entered the game for the IL in the bottom of the sixth as a defensive replacement for Adames. He would get one at bat in the eighth and struck out looking.
Shaffer’s 2-for-3 day with a double, a homer, and two RBI earned him the BUSH’s Beans MVP Award for the International League.
The Eastern League’s competition took place on the opposite side of the country from its Triple-A counterpart. The Eastern League All-Star Classic was hosted in Manchester, New Hampshire, by the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Wednesday night.
Mejia had a tough day at the plate in his second All-Star Game of the week (after partaking in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday in Miami, Florida). Hitting third in the lineup, he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and left one man on base. He grounded out to end the first, struck out to end the third, and popped to short in his final at bat with one out in the sixth. He was replaced behind the plate after the inning.
Chang was the offensive weapon for the Western team. Hitting seventh in the order, he chased Aderlin Rodriguez home after his two-out double with a two-out double of his own to put the division on top, 1-0. Chang was called out on strikes to end the top of the fourth in his only other at bat in the game and was replaced defensively beginning in the bottom of the fifth.
RubberDucks reliever Hill was the second pitcher to take the the mound for the Western Division. He worked a quick second inning, striking out two around a fly out to center to earn a hold in what was a 1-0 contest at the time.
Pannone had the unusual task of coming on in relief of Hill in a bit of role reversal. He handled the task well, needing nine pitches to retire three outs (two fly outs and one groundout) while sending the game into the fourth inning with the Western Division still up, 1-0.
The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the seventh, when the home Eastern Division All-Stars rattled off seven runs and held on to win, 7-1.
Photo (Shaffer): Pacific Coast League