How the West was undone 
Eighth inning rally lifts East All-Stars to ’08 victory

 July 31, 2008


Written by Kathleen Szmit
Blame it on the eighth inning streak. Or would that be streakers? While the naked trio sprinting across the outfield at the 2008 Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star game on July 26 offered a momentary distraction from the game, there was no denying that the East was making a run of their own, ultimately wresting an 8-6 win from the hands of a dismayed West.

Kathleen Szmit photos
THE CAPTAIN AND HIS MEN – Cape League Hall of Famer Noel Kinski served as honorary captain of the West All Stars at the CCBL All-Star Game on July 26.

All it took was one inning for the West to take a commanding 6-1 lead and one inning for the East to blow it right out of the water.

For the West, the lucky number was six. With a run already on the board from a homer by Falmouth’s AJ Pollock the team enjoyed a string of good luck in the sixth. The mix of players from Hyannis, Cotuit, Falmouth, Bourne and Wareham smacked five hits in the inning and brought in five runs to bring their lead to 6-1.

It began with a center field single from Falmouth’s Jimmy Cesario. A walk from Bourne’s Marc Krauss advanced Cesario and resulted in two men on base for the West with no outs. As Wareham’s Raynor Campbell stepped to the plate Krauss and Cesario set off on a thrilling double steal, claiming second and third respectively.

The excitement continued with Campbell reaching first on a throwing error by the East’s Grant Green. The errant throw allowed Cesario to plate a run for the West, while Krauss claimed third.

With two men on, one run scored and still no outs, Hyannis’ Ben Paulsen clocked a double to right center to bring in Krauss and Campbell, who blazed his way all the way from first.

Next up was Bourne’s Dusty Coleman, whose center single brought in Paulsen for yet another West run. East pitcher Martin Viramontes then loaded the bases on a walk from Cotuit’s Kevin Patterson and a single from Hyannis’ Dale Cornstubble.

Trent Ashcraft of the Hyannis Mets brought in Coleman with a sacrifice fly before Viramontes loaded the bases for the second time in the inning, but East reliever Chris Manno of Harwich struck out the next two batters to prevent the West from plating another run.

Riding high on solid pitching and quick fielding, the West had a stronghold on the game and looked to be headed for a win.
The East, however, had other plans. With a run tallied from an earlier homer from Orleans’ Rich Poythress, the East fired up their bats.

In the bottom of the eighth, Cotuit’s Seth Blair took the mound for the West. Having recently thrown two consecutive shutouts, Blair’s success was anticipated.

Even after Brester’s Brent Milleville walked, West fans remained faithful. Then the Whitecaps’ Ty Kelly singled through the left, advancing Milleville to second.

Blair then walked Whitecap No. 3 Ryan Wheeler for a bases-loaded, no-outs situation. Blair struck out Chatham’s Cory Olson, but had his momentum thrown when streakers crossing the outfield suddenly interrupted the game.

His focus shaken, Blair next faced Tim Wheeler of the Orleans Cardinals, who cracked a double down the right field line to bring in Milleville and Kelly.

Although Nick Liles of the Y-D Red Sox grounded out, Ryan Wheeler was able to cross the plate for East run No. 4. A homer from Grant Green evened the score.

Unable to catch a break, Blair was dealt another whammy when the game was again interrupted, this time due to a Chatham tradition honoring those whose lives were lost on 9/11.

Blair’s next batter following the break was Harwich Mariner DJ LeMahieu, who reached on a single before claiming second on a wild pitch, and then third when Blair balked.

LeMahieu’s teammate Mark Fleury then hit the winning run for the East, smacking a two-run homer over the right field fence.
Falmouth’s Ben Tootle stepped in to replace a deflated Blair, ending the inning by striking out Milleville in his second at-bat. But the damage was done.

Boasting a two-run lead, the East sent Chatham’s Brad Boxberger to the mound for the ninth, clinching the win when he quickly retired the side. The West hasn’t won an All-Star game since 2002.

Hyannis’ Ben Paulsen was named West MVP by scouts during post-game presentations. Paulsen, who broke a 1-1 deadlock in the sixth, has participated in all Hyannis games this season. Currently he carries a .282 batting average and leads the Mets with 25 RBIs and is third overall in league RBI leaders.

Paulsen East MVP Grant Green, and their respective All-Star teams were feted at Fenway Park on July 30, CCBL’s All-Star Recognition Night.


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