In a game not lacking in entertainment value, the East squad came out on top of the West, 11-8, in the 2013 TCL All-Star Game. Pump Jacks star Ty Marlow was named the MVP after going 3-for-5 as the starting designated hitter, as well as pitching a solid inning on the mound.
The fans packed Driller Park for an all-star evening. The players in turn packed the box score. The East all-stars, led by eight Pump Jacks stars, completed a comeback win by scoring eight runs in the final three innings to capture the 2013 Texas Collegiate League All-Star Game by a score of 11-8.
The 2013 rendition of the TCL's midsummer classic went almost according to script. Historic Driller Park welcomed a sizeable crowd of fans and executives from all over the league, as well as a contingent of at least a dozen major league scouts. The weather was balmy, if not a bit toasty, but there wasn't a cloud in the sky.
With a perfect setting, the stars put on a show. It was a seesaw affair in which every all-star played, and the two squads racked up 19 runs on 20 hits. The West, made up of players from the Brazos Valley Bombers, Texas Marshals, and Victoria Generals, jumped out to an early lead. The East squad, with Pump Jacks players joined by representatives of the Acadiana Cane Cutters and Woodlands Strykers, jumped on top in the middle innings. The two sides battled in the last three innings, and to the delight of the home fans, the East ended up on the winning end.
To further excite the East Texas faithful, the Pump Jacks' Ty Marlow was named the game's most valuable player. Playing his last game in a Jacks uniform, the two-time TCL all-star went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI, and he struck out two batters in one perfect inning on the mound.
The West got onto the board first in the second inning thanks to two errors from the East side. Chabriel Pizarro of the Texas Marshals opened the frame with a sharp single to left. Brazos Valley's Brett Kauten grounded into a fielder’s choice, erasing Pizarro at second. Kauten stole second, and on an attempted steal of third, the throw from catcher Mitchel Nau (Acadiana) was bobbled by third basemen Joey Armstrong (East Texas) and rolled into left. Kauten scrambled home safely when the ball was mishandled by Ricky Sanchez (Woodlands) in left, giving the West a 1-0 lead.
The West all-stars tacked on another run the next inning to take an early 2-0 lead. Outfielder Blake Kopetsky from the Bombers led off with a single up the middle. After two wild pitches and a hit batter, Romeo Cortina (Victoria) knocked in Kopetsky run with a grounder to double the West's lead.
After three quiet innings, the East side offense powered back in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead. The East loaded the bases with one out thanks to three walks by Victoria's Trey Wall. Strykers first basemen, Dirk Masters, came up with the clutch hit, knocking a single into the gap in right to bring home two. Ty Marlow bounced into a fielder's choice for the final run of the inning and to give the East squad its first lead of the night.
Scoring hit a lull for a few innings, but fans got their money's worth in the seventh, when nine runs were scored and the lead changed hands two more times.The East's John Gremillion (Acadiana) got into a bit of hot water after a walk, a hit batter, and a single loaded the bases with no outs. Zachary Marberry, designated hitter from the Marshals, lined a single right up the middle, almost knocking Gremillion to the ground. The single scored one to tie the game up at 3-3. Kopetsky followed with a two-run double into left-center to regain the lead for the West, 6-3.
The West advantage didn't last long, with the East answering right back in the home half of the inning thanks to some hometown stars. Ty Marlow got the inning going with an infield single, and Armstrong followed with an opposite field base hit. Both Jacks advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch, and Strykers outfielder, Brian Smith, who entered the game in the sixth, worked a 12-pitch walk to load the bases with no outs.With the bases juiced, Kilgore native Matthew Dickey roped a single up the middle to bring home both of his Pump Jack teammates, cutting the deficit to 6-5.
With Conner Fikes (Woodlands) at the plate and already Smith running on the pitch, Dickey advanced to second on a passed ball. Smith tied the game when he scampered home on a wild pitch. The Pump Jacks' Brooks Marlow came up huge, crushing an RBI triple into deep center field to score Dickey and give the East the 7-6 lead. Kevin Santana, who like his Strykers teammate Fikes entered the game in the sixth, kept singled up the middle to score Marlow and push the lead to 8-6.
The East side added some insurance runs in the eighth inning to widen the game. Ty Marlow once again led off the inning with an infield single, advancing to second on a groundout from Armstrong. Smith, rocketed a double into left center to bring home the elder Marlow for the first run of the inning. Dickey followed with a single to plate Smith for his third RBI of the night and a 10-6 East lead.
You can never count a team out, and when it has the firepower of an all-star team, that is doubly true - and the West made things interesting in the top of the ninth. David Paiz Jr. (Victoria) got the ball rolling with a walk, and Marberry singled. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch from Gandy Stubblefield (Woodlands). Paiz Jr. came home on another wild pitch, and Marberry scored on a grounder by Matt Eureste (Brazos Valley) to cut the lead to 10-8. Stubblefield battled back to induce back-to-back groundouts to secure the win for the East side.
Fans and scouts benefitted from play in the bottom of the ninth, even though the East had secured the win, to give every all-star their proper stage. With Victoria closer Kaleb Keith in the game, Acadiana's Kyle Cedotal revved up the East squad with a single inside the left field line. He moved over to second on a grounder by Masters, which brought up Ty Marlow yet again. The junior from Texas capped his MVP performance with his third base hit of the night, and Cedotal later scored on an error to conclude the scoring at 11-8.
As per usual in an all-star event, a number of pitchers shone for both sides. The East squad was led by Ty Marlow’s, 1-2-3 two-strikeout inning, but other pitchers contributed to the East pitching staff's total of eleven strikeouts. Nick Rossetta of East Texas allowed a run in his inning of work, but he struck out two batters. Justin Sinabaldi of Acadiana did not allow a run and struck out two, as did the Strykers' Alex Garza, who also allowed an unearned run to score.
The best pitching performance of the night came from the opposite side of the field. Brazos Valley's Zac Curtis fanned the three men he faced in order in the fifth inning. Jason Freeman, also of the Bombers, took the loss after allowing five runs on five hits in his lone inning of work.
Ironically, Gremillion picked up the win after the roughest inning for any East pitcher. He was touched for four runs on three hits, but he was the pitcher of record when the East took the lead with their five-run seventh inning.
The night opened with the Home Run Derby, which featured a total of 12 balls crushed over the wall. Santana, who currently leads the TCL with five regular season home runs, was crowned the victor when he led off his turn in the championship round with three home runs without recording an out.