East rally in 9th woeful for West
By BOB SYLVA
PLEASANT LAKE - Meteorologists around New England may have had it wrong, but Chatham manager John Schiffner got it right.
While weather forecasters called for afternoon rains to put a damper on yesterday's Cape Cod Baseball League's all-star extravaganza at Cape Cod Tech, Schiffner emphasized enjoyment to the delight of a crowd estimated at more than 4,000. As the skies cleared and sunshine increased, the home team Eastern stars rallied for five runs in the ninth inning to pull off a 7-6 win over the Western all-stars.
"This is what all-star games should be all about," said Schiffner, who is in his fourth decade with the Cape League as a player, coach and manager. "It's a lot of fun for the guys playing and it's very exciting for everyone watching."
Going into the bottom of the eighth, it was the East that had been doing most of the watching and the West most of the enjoying while fashioning a 6-1 lead. Chad Tracy changed that with an RBI single to score Adam Stern and trim the West's advantage to 6-2. In the ninth, the East put five hits and four walks together to claim the win.
J.T. Stotts opened the frame with a single, and after one man was retired, the East got a pair of singles from Brad Stockton and Stern to start the rally. Two walks loaded the bases before Bryan Prince tied it at 6-6 with a double to left.
An intentional walk to Stegall loaded the bases again before Jason Bartlett took four straight pitches to force home the game-winning run.
"I feel bad for the kids on the West and it's too bad the winning run had to come on ball four, but it was an exciting comeback that this team put together," added Schiffner. "That's why these kids are all-stars."
Brian Stavisky and Stegall took home the MVP awards for their respective teams.
As in most all-star games, pitching ruled the early innings. Starters Bob Brownlie (West) and Dan Krines (East) threw two innings apiece before giving way to relievers who worked an inning apiece. The steady parade of fresh arms kept the game scoreless through the first three innings before Harwich's Ryan Stegall put the East ahead with a two-out home run in the fourth. The Missouri third baseman drilled an 0-1 offering from Ryan Combs to the left of the scoreboard in left-center to make it 1-0.
That lead held up until the sixth, when Hyannis's Stavisky drove a pitch from Jake Gann over the fence in right for a three-run homer that put the West on top 3-1.
The West added a single run in the seventh before stretching its lead to 6-1 with a pair in the eighth. Stavisky's opposite-field double down the left field line scored Brooks, and Daylan Holt followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Darren Welch.
It's pretty safe to say that a good time was had by all.
Doc Brooks and Jason Cooper wowed the crowd with a powerful display in the pregame home run contest, which Cooper won with six shots beyond the right-field fence. Recently inducted into the Umpires Hall of Fame, 81-year old Curley Clement pulled on the pads to call ball and strikes for players three-score years younger.
And the Philly Phanatic had entertained the crowd throughout, wooing third base umpire Shea Walker to the tune of "Unforgettable" in the sixth inning and dancing on the dugout in the ninth with a chorus line of bat boys spelling out "YMCA."
The only dissenting note on the day came when P.A. announcer Jim Nowak announced that the game would end after the ninth and there would be no extra innings.
As it turned out, there was no need.