American Legion All-Star Game
On Wednesday night, I participated in the 2011 Area III American Legion All-Star game at McCrary Park in Asheboro. I was very honored to be a part of the North team because I was selected by the other coaches in our division based on my performance. I was selected as a pitcher, although I feel that my hitting throughout the year was more deserving than my pitching statistics. I, Jake White (OF), and Jordan Ramsey (P) were selected from my Lexington-Davidson team but Jordan was unable to play for an incident that occurred earlier in the week. Jake and I arrived in Asheboro at 3:30 for the 7:00 game in order to take part in the pre-game festivities. Both the North and South teams took batting practice (BP) on the field and then hung out around the dugouts and talked with the guys we had been playing against earlier in the season as enemies. During BP, Brett Morgan (P) and I discussed the different innings we would like to pitch during the game, knowing that each pitcher would only throw one inning. Neither of us wanted to throw the 1st or the 9th, and I stated that I would be happy pitching the 3rd or the first half of the game. However when we returned to the dugout, the lineup card was posted and Brett was pitching the 3rd inning and I was pitching the 9th. For those unfamiliar with baseball, the 9th is the last inning and the pitcher is referred to as the closer. The closer is expected to “save” the victory for the team and must have a ton of confidence in their ability.
After BP, three players from both teams competed in the Home Run Derby and it was exciting to watch. Ryne Rush from Randolph County hit some of the farthest and highest home runs I have ever seen, but a player from Wilkes County won the contest. Also, Ramsey, teammate Zach Redmond, and friends Andy Vogler and BJ Smith came to the game unexpectedly and I’m glad they did. Finally it was game time. The game started off with a bang with most of the scoring coming in the first 3 innings and home runs from Tyler Surface and Jake Hall for our team. The pitching was very good; however there were excellent hitters from top to bottom in the lineup. I spent most of the game chatting with players on our team and I met some really cool guys. As the game crept on, the rain continued to fall and by the time I went out for the top of the 9th inning, it was a steady rainfall. At this point, the South had tied the score at 10-10 and I was counted on by all of my teammates and Northern Division teams to keep the game tied. The winner of the game would receive home-field advantage for the playoffs if two teams met with the same division records. The first batter I faced was Connor Bodenhammer from Mocksville, a player I knew very well from playing against during the high school season. I had not pitched in a week, so my arm felt really good and I gave it all I had, knowing that I would pitch only one inning. I retired Bodenhammer on a strike out, but the next two batters reached base on an error and a hit by pitch. I knew I had to bare down and get two more outs and was fortunate enough to strike out the next two batters. However, our team was unable to score in the bottom half of the inning and we had no pitchers remaining. I was set to pitch the 10th inning, but the game ended in a 10-10 tie as the rain was beginning to make the mound and the playing conditions unbearable. It wasn’t until after the game that I was informed exactly how hard I was throwing and I was very pleased with what I heard. Most fastballs I threw were clocked at 88 mph, but I topped out at 91 mph, the hardest I have ever thrown. Now that legion is over, my goal is to work even harder to improve my velocity and overall pitching before I arrive at Davidson. Speaking of Davidson, I talked with Rob Bain (P) of the South team and we will be teammates next year.
Overall, the All-Star game was a great event and I was very honored to be a part of it. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next write-up!