Springfield, MO – The South Division claimed the 8-5 win against the North Division in the 80th Texas League All-Star Game, presented by Great Southern Bank, before the sellout crowd of 7,832 fans at Hammons Field on Tuesday night.
Springfield Cardinals 1B Luke Voit, a former Missouri State University standout, won the pregame Bass Pro Shops Home Run Derby, slugging 30 home runs between the two rounds to top Midland RockHounds 3B Matt Chapman, who hit 28 homers.
Frisco LF Ryan Cordell was named the Texas League All-Star Game MVP, helping pace the South Division with a 3-for-5 night, including a three-run home run and four total RBIs. Cardinals CF Harrison Bader helped lead the North by going 4-for-5 with a double and a run, while Springfield 2B Bruce Caldwell provided a three-run home run.
After North Division RHP Chase De Jong from the Tulsa Drillers started the game with a strikeout, he quickly gave way to Arkansas Travelers RHP Jordan Kipper (L, 0-1). Frisco LF Ryan Cordell welcomed Kipper to the mound with a one-out single, before Hooks SS Alex Bregman cracked the scoreless tie with a two-run home run, propelling the South Division into the 2-0 lead.
With Tulsa RHP Scott Barlow on the mound to open the top of the third, Hooks RF Teoscar Hernandez opened the inning with a single. Hernandez stole his way to second base, while Barlow dug in with back-to-back outs. With a runner at second and two away, Hooks CF Derek Fisher brought in Hernandez with an RBI single, increasing the lead to 3-0.
After a scoreless bottom of the first from South Division and Corpus Christi RHP Keegan Yuhl and a scoreless second from Frisco LHP Victor Payano, the North Division started chipping away in the bottom of the third. Frisco RHP Connor Sadzeck struck out the first man in the third, but Tulsa SS Drew Maggi singled himself on. Cardinals CF Harrison Bader, who doubled in the first inning, followed Maggi’s base hit with one of his own, moving Maggi around to third with only one away. Tulsa 2B Willie Calhoun brought in his fellow Driller, plating Maggi with an RBI sacrifice fly to left field, deacreasing the North’s deficit to 3-1.
The North kept cutting into the lead against Hooks LHP Evan Grills in the bottom of the fourth. Drillers RF Alex Verdugo drove a double into the left field corner to start the stanza. Naturals 3B Mauricio Ramos came up next and scorched an RBI single to right-center field, bringing in Verdugo to make it just a 3-2 lead for the South.
However, the South Division stretched the lead back out to two run in the top of the fifth. Facing Cardinals RHP Daniel Poncedeleon, 2B Franklin Barreto doubled himself on to start the inning, before stealing his way to third base. One out later, Cordell came through with an RBI single to score Barreto for the 4-2 South lead.
The South Division powered further in front in the top of the sixth. With two on and two down, Cordell struck with a three-run home run, padding the South Division advantage to 7-2.
The South continued the rally in the top of the seventh against Drillers RHP Caleb Dirks. With one down, Hooks 3B J.D. Davis singled himself aboard, prior to racing around to third on a double from DH Nick Torres one out later. Pinch-hitting Frisco C Isiah Kiner-Falefa provided the two-out RBI single to plate Davis, stretching the South lead to 8-2.
The North came racing back in the bottom of the seventh inning against Midland RHP Andres Avila. Maggi worked a walk to start the inning, followed by a single from Bader, the Cardinals All-Star’s fourth hit of the night. With two on and nobody out, Cardinals 2B Bruce Caldwell crushed a three-run home run to right-center field, slicing the North Division’s deficit to just three runs, 8-5.
Both sides, though, received scoreless relief through the final two innings, with Cardinals RHP Josh Lucas and Travelers LHP Edward Paredes blanking the South in the top of the eighth, before Drillers LHP Jordan Schafer and Travs RHP D.J. Johnson dealt a scoreless ninth.
However, the South countered with scoreless work from a pair of Missions hurlers, RHP Adam Cimber in the eighth and RHP Jason Jester (S) in the ninth, closing the 8-5 win in the 80th Texas League All-Star Game, presented by Great Southern Bank.