HARWICH - In what has been the summer of offense for the Cape Cod Baseball League, pitchers dominated the league’s All-Star game with the East and West playing to a 1-1 tie in the 50th Cape League Summer Classic at Whitehouse Field on Saturday night.
Cape League hitters have been showing off to the scouts this season crushing 309 homeruns, only eight homers shy of the total of the previous two seasons combined, but in Harwich on Saturday the best pitchers in the league got their chance to shine.
Each team carried nine pitchers and the first seven hurlers from each side pitched shutout ball as the game was knotted at zero through seven innings.
In the eighth the West ended the scoring drought.
Daniel Palka (Georgia Tech-Wareham) and Jacob May (Coastal Carolina-Cotuit) hit back-to-back singles to start the frame and with Tyler Ross (LSU-Wareham) batting, they converted a successful double-steal to move into scoring position.
After Ross struckout, Mason Robbins (Southern Miss-Bourne) hit a grounder to second baseman Carlos Asuaje (Nova Southeastern-YD) who had been playing in and fired home to nail Palka at the plate.
With two outs John Murphy (Sacred Heart-Bourne) struck out but the ball got to the backstop and he reached first base as May scored the first run for the West.
“There were two strikes on [Murphy] and coach just told me to look for a curveball and most of the time pitchers are going to throw something off-speed, something low in the dirt and that’s what happened and I just took off,” said May.
In the ninth inning the East battled back against Dan Slania (Notre Dame-Cotuit) who leads the Cape with eight saves this summer.
Alex Blandino (Stanford-YD) started the inning by hitting a grounder to short that he beat out with a head first slide into first for an infield single.
Blandino would advance to second on a ground out and Red Sox teammate Robert Pehl (Washington-YD) would drive him home after pulling a 2-2 offering from Slania between short and third.
When Slania struck out Ryon Healy (Oregon-Brewster) for the third out of the inning the game was called as a tie.
“I haven’t had a tie ballgame since freshman year of high school,” said Tanner Mathis (OleMiss-YD). “It’s fun though. Both pitching staffs were tremendous, obviously it was real hard to score runs.”
Palka who was 3-for-4 with a steal was named the West's Most Valuable Player. He was the only member of the team to have multiple hits and his double in the third was the only extra base hit for the West.
“It was exciting,” said Palka. “I knew pitchers were going to come with their best stuff in the zone so I was just looking for stuff in the zone and pretty much all these pitchers know where their stuff is going. They are the best ones [on the Cape], and [the balls I hit] were in the zone.”
Blandino took home the MVP award for the East after going 2 for 3 along with scoring the tying run in the ninth.
NOTES: JaCoby Jones (LSU-Harwich) put on a show at his home park winning the Home Run Derby before the game after blasting seven homers in the one-round contest …Aaron Blair (Marshall-YD) was the starting pitcher for the East while Sean Manaea (Indiana St-Hyannis) got the nod for the West…The All-Star Game returned to the Cape for the first time in three years after being held at Fenway Park in 09-11…Harwich was chosen as the host for the game because the Harwich Mariners won the 2011 Cape League title.
Zac Vierra is a Boston Globe Sports Correspondent and was the high school baseball beat writer for this past season. He also writes for the Bourne Braves. You can contact him via email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @Veast17.
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