Southern Division 4,
Northern Division 1
Last night, during the Class AA Eastern League All-Star Game at Prince George's Stadium, Erie catcher Max St. Pierre felt a lot more comfortable with Bowie's 6-foot-5, 298-pound Walter Young chugging toward home plate than he did two weeks ago.
On July 1, during the first game of Erie's series at Bowie, Young crashed into the 6-0, 170-pound St. Pierre, while trying to score. St. Pierre got knocked back, hit his head on home plate and ended up at Anne Arundel Medical Center with a third-degree concussion.
Last night, however, St. Pierre and Young were teammates. And with the bases loaded and Young poised to come home from third in the bottom of the eighth, St. Pierre came up with a single that gave the Southern Division its final run in a 4-1 victory over the Northern Division in front of 9,166.
"I liked having him on my team, for sure," said St. Pierre, who returned from his concussion to play in one game with Erie before the all-star break. "Things happen. . . . It's part of the game. He's way bigger than me."
All-star games make for strange bedfellows, as Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza showed Tuesday night in the mid-summer classic. But St. Pierre and Young made sure there was no tension in the Southern Division dugout before the game.
"We got with each other, and I told him that it wasn't on purpose and we kind of just squashed it," said Young, who went 1 for 2. "It wasn't a big deal."
"I talked to him, and everything's fine," said St. Pierre, who went 2 for 2 with an RBI.
Last night's game proceeded much like a major league all-star game, with teams platooning players, especially pitchers. Nineteen pitchers played, none worked more than an inning.
Bowie pitcher Dave Crouthers picked up the win for the Southern Division and Southern Division second baseman Jeff Keppinger (Altoona/Pirates affiliate) won most valuable player honors by going 3 for 4 with one RBI.
There were few fireworks early, with pitchers controlling the game, giving up just one earned run and one extra-base hit through the first 61/2 innings.
"I think we have an advantage because [the hitters] are really wanting to swing hard and hit the ball out of the yard," said Crouthers. "And it's tough seeing a different pitcher every time, you can't get your timing down."
Perhaps the most spirited reaction from the fans came in the bottom of the eighth when Northern Manager Stump Merrill (Trenton/Yankees) pulled pitcher Brandon League (New Hampshire/Blue Jays) after just two batters. League showed off his major league fastball and hit 100 mph on one pitch to Keppinger, according to a stadium scoreboard.
The "oos" elicited by League's heat turned to "boos," however, when Merrill replaced him just before he was to face Young.
Baysox front office employees were just glad to see anybody on the field. At about 3:15 p.m. yesterday, a heavy downpour hit Bowie and forced the grounds crew to cover the field with its tarpaulin.
Because the second half of the Eastern League season starts today, the game would not have been made up if it had been rained out last night. And four months of intense planning would have been for naught.
"Our guys get on the bus [for a road trip] at 7 a.m. tomorrow," said Lars Thorn, Bowie's director of public relations. "So there was no option but to play it tonight."
The Southern Division struck first, scoring two runs in the bottom of the third when Keppinger drove in Scott Pratt (Akron/Indians) with a single, and Chris Duffy (Altoona/Pirates) followed him in thanks to a fielding error. The Southern Division added to its lead in the bottom of the seventh when substitute Jason Cooper (Akron/Indians) led off the inning by blasting a 1-0 delivery from J.D. Durbin (New Britain/Twins) over the fence in right field.