Santos Shines as Scrappers Help South to NYPL All-Star Game Win

Luis Santos had his fair share of fun in State College, Pennsylvania, with one of the bigger moments of the New York-Penn League All-Star Game.

The 23-year-old Mahoning Valley right-hander’s battle with Batavia’s Sean Reynolds provided some on-the-field humor with an impressive triple-digit feat as the South rolled to a 7-1 win over the North in the annual exhibition of the league’s top performers.

Santos took the mound in the third inning with the South up, 3-1. After allowing a leadoff single, he struck out Batavia’s Jerar Encarnacion for the first out and got a grounder to first by Hudson Valley’s Chris Betts. Reynolds stepped to the plate and Santos reared back, pumping a 100 MPH fastball over the plate. He turned and motioned to the right field wall, where the pitch speed was on display. Santos struck out Reynolds on a slider in the dirt on a 3-2 pitch to end the at bat, the inning, and his outing. He approached Reynolds at the plate and hugged him before saluting the crowd at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

“It felt great because I signaled that I was going to throw a fastball to Reynolds,” shared Santos after the win through Williamsport coach/translator Christian Marrero. “I told him I was going to throw a fastball and once I threw it and saw 100 MPH, I was impressed with myself.

“This is my life. I love baseball and I love the fans. We’re out here having fun with everybody and I was just having [fun] with Reynolds.”

It marked one of several good performances from the five Scrappers to take the field for the South team in the short-season All-Star Game. His fellow Mahoning Valley bullpen mate Randy Valladares put together a good inning of his own in the seventh, working around two base runners after a leadoff groundout, ending the brief threat on a double play grounder to third to start the 5-3 inning ending twin killing.

Three Scrappers were in the starting lineup for the South, including shortstop Tyler Freeman, who drew a five-pitch walk with one on in the bottom of the first inning. He came in to score on a two-run triple by Brooklyn’s Ross Adolph, providing the South with what would prove to be the deciding run in the win. DH Mitch Reeves grounded out in his first at bat of the game for the inning’s second out.

Hosea Nelson struck out in his first at bat on a 3-2 pitch in the second inning. Freeman was set to step to the plate that inning, but the game’s 25-pitch allotment per inning forced him to lead off the bottom of the third. He flew out to center and Reeves would be called out on a 3-2 pitch. Nelson ended the inning as the third Scrapper to hit in the frame, flying out to center.

Freeman returned to the plate for his third official trip in the bottom of the fourth when a wild pitch by Vermont’s Brandon Withers scored Aberdeen’s Willy Yahn after his leadoff triple. Freeman singled on the next pitch, but he was stranded on base.

Freeman and Nelson were each lifted at the top of the fifth, with State College’s Delvin Perez taking over at short and Brooklyn’s Wagner Lagrange manning left. Reeves was replaced in the bottom of the inning by pinch-hitter State College’s Edwin Figuera.

Adolph was named the BUSH’S® All-Star MVP for his efforts on the night, which included a 2-for-3 line with a triple, a homer, and three runs batted in out of the three-spot in the lineup. The 21-year-old was the New York Mets’ 12th round pick this year out of the University of Toledo.

League action resumed on Wednesday, with the Scrappers dropping a pair of home contests to Auburn to fall to 32-24 on the year. Thursday was a mutual off day for the league. Mahoning Valley will host State College on Friday.

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