2007 NY-Penn All-Star Game: AL 6, NL 4

FISHKILL, NY - The American League came back to defeat the National League by a 6-4 margin in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game Tuesday night.

In the long and storied history of Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, the National League holds a 41-to-35 win advantage over the American League with two ties. However, in recent years, the Junior Circuit holds a substantial edge, claiming the last ten wins, including their 5-4 victory in San Francisco this July 10. (The streak was only interrupted by Bud Selig's famous Milwaukee "This Time it Counts" tie in 2002.)

Apparently, no one gave the 2007 New York-Penn League All-Stars the history lesson, or perhaps they only care about recent happenings, as the short-season Class A American League stars stormed from behind to defeat their NL counterparts by a 6-4 score on Tuesday night. The third annual All-Star tilt was held at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, New York on a beautiful 83 degree, cloudless evening in front of a sell-out crowd of 4,827.

The New York-Penn League stands out among their peers as the only minor league that follows the AL-NL All-Star format and the only short-season league that even has an All-Star Game. The 59 youngsters in the third annual All-Star contest were managed by league-leading Dennis Holmberg and his Auburn Doubledays staff (AL) and Brooklyn Cyclones skipper Edgar Alfonzo and his coaches (NL).

The NL got on the board quickly in the top of the first as designated hitter Justin Byler of State College (Pittsburgh) slapped a two-run double off AL starter Guillermo Moscoso of the Oneonta Tigers (Detroit). They added to their lead in the second when centerfielder Keanon Simon of State College came home on a wild pitch uncorked by AL hurler Zachary Jevne of the Aberdeen Ironbirds (Baltimore).

The scoring continued in the fourth as the visiting NL squad tacked on a fourth run. First baseman Bill Rhinehart of the Vermont Lake Monsters (Washington) stroked an RBI single, again with Simon scoring, off pitcher Heath Taylor of Mahoning Valley (Cleveland). The home club cut the lead in half at 4-2 in the bottom of the frame against Vermont's Glenn Gibson, though two fielding errors on the infield contributed mightily as both runs were unearned.

A late addition to the roster, Auburn's Manny Rodriguez, brought home the AL's third run on a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Aberdeen outfielder Joseph Nowicki, who had doubled off pitcher Chance Chapman of Williamsport (Philadelphia), scored. That closed the NL lead to 4-3.

The score remained right there until the bottom of the eighth when the AL took their first lead of the evening against pitcher Will Morgan of the Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets) and eventual loser Jason Dominguez from the Tri-City ValleyCats (Houston).

Oneonta's Casper Wells' sacrifice fly scored Yamaico Navarro of the Lowell Spinners (Boston) to tie the game. DH Chris Carlson's RBI single (Oneonta) brought in Nowicki with the lead run. Rodriguez scored the sixth and final run of the night for the AL on a single by Jansy Infante of Mahoning Valley.

The victorious AL squad made the most of nine hits, led by Nowicki, who went 2-for-2 with two runs scored. The NL club managed twelve hits but were shut out for the final five innings by five AL pitchers. For the losers, outfielder Aaron Suess of Vermont went 3-for-3 with a run scored and Byler had two hits and two RBI.

Lowell's Felix Ventura was the winner as the pitcher of record in the eighth inning when the lead was taken. Oneonta's Noah Krol pitched a spotless ninth for the save, striking out Byler to end the game.

Garrett Parcell of Jamestown (Florida) was the Pitcher of the Game after firing 10 pitches, eight of them for strikes, as he fanned two in a hitless seventh inning for the NL. With the game-winning hit for the AL, Carlson was named Player of the Game. Earlier, Jamestown's catcher Torre Langley won the Home Run Derby (see photo above).

The league announced before the game that the 2008 New-York Penn All-Star Game, fourth in the series, will be hosted by the Tri-City ValleyCats, the Houston Astros affiliate.

Note: Make sure you check out our exclusive game photos here.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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