DAYTON, Ohio -- Games often come down to which team takes better advantage of its opportunities.
That was the case Tuesday night at the Midwest League All-Star Game. The East squad managed only eight hits, but went 5-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The West racked up 13 hits, but went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
The East picked up a 6-5 win with a walk-off single by Lansing’s Dalton Pompey with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
South Bend’s Brandon Drury doubled to lead off the bottom of the ninth against Beloit’s Ryan Dull. After a walk and a strikeout, Drury advanced to third on a fielder’s choice before scoring on Pompey’s single.
A pair of LumberKings had a lot to do with the East needing bottom of the ninth heroics.
With the West trailing 5-2 in the top of the ninth inning, Clinton catcher Tyler Marlette took his first plate appearance. Marlette, who said he was anxious to hit, didn’t get much to swing at from Fort Wayne pitcher Roman Madrid. Marlette drew a leadoff walk when he checked his swing on ball four, the fourth pitch he saw.
“I was joking around with the umpire; I was like, ‘Say I went right here,’” Marlette said. “He was having a tough time finding the zone.”
Peoria’s Breyvic Valera beat out an infield single and then Clinton outfielder Jabari Henry drew a walk to load the bases.
“I was just trying to get on base,” Henry said.
The West pulled to within one run when Niko Goodrum singled to right-center scoring Marlette and Valera.
After Cedar Rapids’ Goodrum singled, Madrid was lifted for RJ Hively. Hively converted 18 of 19 save opportunities in the first half of the season for Fort Wayne.
After a strikeout, Hively threw a wild pitch and Henry raced home to score the tying run.
“At first I didn’t know if it was in front of the catcher,” Henry said. “The batter told me to come in, so I just ran as fast as I could and I was safe.”
Hively retired the next two batters to keep the game tied.
The West took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Adam Brett Walker of Cedar Rapids led off the inning with a single and scored when Kane County’s Dan Vogelbach hit a 97-mph 1-2 fastball the opposite way for a run-scoring double. Vogelbach scored on a sacrifice fly by Jorge Polanco of Cedar Rapids.
But the West went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position from the third to eighth innings, including not being able to score after loading the bases in both the fourth and sixth innings.
In the fourth, Vogelbach and Polanco singled and Clinton’s Dario Pizzano drew a walk off Dayton’s Sal Romano. Romano got a strikeout and a broken-bat pop up to escape the inning.
“You’ve got to make pitches,” Romano said. “When you’re in tough situations, that’s what good pitchers have to do. They have to make that good pitch to get out of it. Luckily, I made a good pitch to get that strikeout. Then I got that broken bat. I was very pleased.
“I didn’t give up any runs and that’s what it’s all about - putting up zeros.”
The East took advantage of its opportunities.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Lake County’s Logan Vick reached on an error by Polanco. Bowling Green catcher Luke Maile singled to put two runners on base. Then Bowling Green’s Leonardo Reginatto knocked in Vick with a single between the shortstop and third baseman.
After another Bowling Green player, Andrew Toles, beat out an infield single to load the bases, West Michigan’s Devon Travis hit a bases-clearing triple over the right fielder’s head.