Photo Credit: Sam Hodde

Three of the top ten farm systems in baseball –the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros– all participate in the Texas League via their Double-A clubs. This served as the tip of the iceberg as two teams, the North All-Stars and the South All-Stars, occupied Hammons Field in Springfield, Missouri, home of the Cardinals for the 2016 Texas League All-Star Game.

Alex Bregman of the Corpus Christi Hooks (who I talked to just days before the game), Ryan Cordell (interview) from the Frisco RoughRiders, Franklin Barreto of the Midland Rockhounds, RoughRiders Ronald Guzman (interview!), Springfield Cardinals Harrison Bader, Hooks Derek FisherMatt Chapman of Midland and Alex Verdugo from the Tulsa Drillers were just some of the players about to swing it while Jake Junis of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Frisco’sConnor Sadzeck, Tulsa’s Chase De Jong and Jordan Kipper from the Arkansas Travelers were some of the names toeing the rubber in the All-Star Game.

Cordell and Bregman got it started, forming a 1-2 punch that will likely only be happening on fantasy baseball rosters. Cordell singled for the first hit of the game and was immediately driven in by Bregman on a two-run home run. If you skip to the last page, the South All-Stars never looked back.

Chase De Jong started the game for the North All-Stars and was perfect. Albeit in just one batter but he struck out the single hitter he faced. Kipper relieved him for two of the eventual 10 pitchers the North threw. The South threw “just” eight.

 

Photo Credit: Tony Capobianco

Corpus Christi’s Keegan Yuhl got the start for the South and pitched a scoreless inning. The next runs came again from the South in the top of the third on a RBI single from Derek Fisher, also from the Hooks. He drove in another Astros minor leaguerTeoscar Hernandez.

The North got on the board in the bottom of the inning with hits from Tulsa’s Drew Maggi and Bader. Maggi scored on a sacrifice fly from teammate Willie Calhoun. Sadzeck surrendered the first runs for the South but was credited with a hold in the always fun All-Star game box score. Five Southern pitchers received holds.

Junis came on to retire the side in order for the first time for the North team. The Texas League leader in strikeouts didn’t disappoint, punching out two of his three batters. After the 1-2-3 inning his hitting teammates answered the call with one run to cut the lead to 3-2. Verdugo came around to score on an RBI single from Naturals Mauricio Ramos after he doubled.

Franklin Barreto doubled himself to lead off the top of the fifth, proceeded to steal third base and the South answered back on a Cordell RBI single. Now 2-2, Cordell had sights set on some hardware. Bregman then added another hit but he and Cordell were stranded.

Defensive substitutions started to pour in the 6th inning. After a scoreless inning from Corpus farmhand Edison Frias. A leadoff single from San Antonio’s Nick Torres and a walk from Hernandez set the stage for Frisco’s Cordell, already 2-2.

Cordell got himself a 3-2 fastball and sent it opposite field for a three run homer. The Texas League leader in RBI got himself three more (although they won’t go towards his season total) and put the South up with a commanding 7-2 lead.

“Games like this, you’re really relaxed and trying to get a good pitch to drive,” Cordell said. “Luckily, I was able to get a few of those and put some good swings on them.” (Are these quotes he gave to you?) the quotes are from MLB.Com

“I was just sitting fastball the entire game,” added the Texas Rangers prospect. “I wasn’t trying to think too much, just trying to see it and hit it — swing as hard as I could and hope good things happen. And, luckily, they did.”

 

Photo Credit: Tony Capobianco

The South would score their eighth and final run in the seventh inning on an RBI single from Frisco’s Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

The North made their comeback attempt after 7,832 fans sung ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame.’

Maggi drew a leadoff walk followed by the familiar sight of a Bader single. Springfield’sBruce Caldwell then launched a three-run shot to right-center. Three runs cut the lead to 8-5, but it wasn’t enough.

Adam Climber worked five straight outs before handing the ball off to his Missions teammateJason Jester who danced with hits by Verdugo and Springfield first baseman Luke Voit for the save and an 8-5 All-Star Game win for the Texas League’s South division.

Without much drama, Frisco RoughRiders Cordell won the Texas League All-Star Game Most Valuable Player award. The Rangers pre-season 14th-ranked prospect went 3-for-5 with a three-run home run and four RBIs to secure MVP honors.

Bregman had two hits himself along with a two-run home run that drove in Cordell in the first. Hernandez scored twice out of the leadoff spot. Torres added two hits for himself.

 

Photo Credit: Tony Capobianco

Bader topped the lineup for the North and had a game-high four hits in five at bats. Verdugo added three hits, Luke Voit chipped in two and Bruce Caldwell smacked the big three-run home run. Ramos contributed an RBI.

Only Springfield’sDaniel Poncedeleonpitched two innings of work. Unfortunately it was of the inning eating variety as he surrendered four runs. Kipper and Adam Climber both worked 1.2 innings.

Texas League strikeout leader Junis struck out two in a scoreless inning. Texas League innings leader Chase De Jong faced one batter to start the game and struck him out.

Yuhl, Victor Payano, Frias and Jester all threw scoreless frames for the South. Josh Lucas,Edward ParedesJordan Schafer and D.J. Johnson combined to give the North two innings of run free baseball.

Next Week: June 30-July 6

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