Home Run Derby decides all-star game
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July 17, 2008 - TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – The 16th annual Frontier League All-Star Game was decided in a Home Run Derby for the fourth time in the last seven years on Wednesday as the East Division beat the West, 3-2, before 6,032 fans at Traverse City’s Wuerfel Park. Angel Molina of the Florence Freedom was chosen as the MVP after hitting the tying homer in the first derby round.

Four RiverHawks got into the game. Starting second baseman Joe Anthonsen was 1-for-3 in his second all-star appearance. Jason James, voted one of the starting outfielders, instead started as the designated hitter. While he was 0-for-2 in regulation, James hit two home runs in the first round of the postgame derby. Lefty Garrett Bauer pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Newly acquired third baseman Robbie Knapp, who was originally slated to miss the game because of injury, was 1-for-2 and singled in a run in the West's nonth-inning comeback.

It took two rounds of the Home Run Derby following the game to determine a winner as the East connected on three homers in the final round while the West hit only one. The final round saw three competitors have two outs to post as many homers as possible while the first round featured three outs. The East sent Jacob Dempsey of Washington, Mike Russell of Kalamazoo, and Angel Molina of Florence to the plate while the West countered with James, Phil Hawke of Windy City, and Tim Dorn of Southern Illinois.

The East led 1-0 in the final round when Kalamazoo’s Russell hit a pair of homers to extend the advantage to 3-0. Tim Dorn was able to blast one to bring the West close, but it wasn’t enough as the East recorded the win.

The Frontier League went to a Home Run Derby to decide the winner before the 2002 game in Kalamazoo following the Major League Baseball tie. The league required a tie-breaker in 2002, 2003, 2006, and again this season. Molina blasted a homer for the East in the final round of the first derby to force a second session after James hit two to start for the West.

The contest required a derby after the West rallied for two ninth inning runs against Kalamazoo closer Brandon Parillo, who leads the Frontier League in saves, to knot the score at 2-2. Tim Dorn began the inning by drawing a walk. With one out Southern Illinois’ Willie Keene singled to place runners on the corners. Knapp drove in a run with a single and Mike Scanzano plated the tying run with a base loaded fielder’s choice.

The RiverHawks acquired Knapp from Washington in a trade for Chris Raber on Monday. Knapp has been voted onto the East roster as a reserve infielder, but instead suited up for the West.

The East had built a 2-0 lead with runs in the fifth and sixth. Kalamazoo’s Kyle Kmiecik singled to begin the inning and with two outs Traverse City’s Mike Goetz drew a walk. Mike Epping followed with a single to score his Traverse City teammate and give the East the edge. In the sixth Billy Mottram from the Florence Freedom singled home his teammate Kelly Hunt to extend the lead.

Click here for the box score.


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