(Photo courtesy of Joe Doll)
(York, Pa., July 10, 2019) - York Revolution catcher/first baseman Isaias Tejeda took home MVP honors as the Freedom Division defeated the Liberty Division 4-3 in a “homer-off” in the 2019 Atlantic League All-Star Game in front of 6,773 fans at PeoplesBank Park on Wednesday night. With the game tied 3-3 through the regulation nine innings, the winner of the exhibition contest was determined in the one-on-one home run derby-style decision.
York right-hander Mitch Atkins got the start for the Freedom Division, making him the second consecutive Revs pitcher to start the Midsummer Classic. Atkins worked around singles from L.J. Mazzilli and David Washington to record a scoreless frame in his only inning of work.
Atlantic League wins leader David Kubiak started for the Liberty Division and was his normal dominant self. The Patriots ace worked a perfect inning while striking out two.
The Liberty Division struck first in the top of the second inning off of Blue Crabs right-hander Daryl Thompson. After Will Kengor drew a one-out walk, fellow Patriot Mike Ohlman smashed a two-run home run over the Arch Nemesis in left to grab the 2-0 lead.
High Point Rocker Joe Van Meter toed the rubber in the second and worked around a Caleb Gindl double to hold the lead at 2-0.
Sugar Land’s Carlos Pimentel came in to pitch the top of the third and allowed just a walk to Mazzilli in his one scoreless inning.
The Freedom Division threatened the lead in the bottom of the third with Long Island’s Joe Iorio on the mound. Dan Gamache, James Skelton, and Cory Vaughn all singled to load the bases with one out but Iorio induced a ground ball double play to end the threat and keep the Liberty Division ahead by two.
After Southern Maryland’s Kevin Munson pitched a scoreless fourth inning, the Freedom Division cut the lead in their half of the frame. High Point righty Sam Runion retired the first two batters he faced, but Lancaster’s Joe Terdoslavich doubled to left to keep the inning alive. Welington Dotel slapped an infield single that bounced off the mound to plate the run and cut the margin to 2-1.
Munson twirled another scoreless frame in the top of the fifth, while New Britain’s Devin Burke answered with a scoreless inning of his own to keep things at 2-1 after five.
In the top of the sixth, it was York’s Jameson McGrane who pitched a scoreless inning while striking out two. Long Island’s Rob Rogers followed with a scoreless bottom of the sixth.
After the Liberty failed to score against Mat Latos in the seventh, the Freedom took the lead on a towering two-run home run down the left field line off the bat of Tejeda, scoring York teammate Ryan Dent and establishing the lead at 3-2.
Latos handled another perfect frame in the eighth and Freedom Division manager Mark Mason turned to Lancaster closer Cody Eppley to try to close the door in the ninth. After recording the first two outs, Eppley was touched by New Britain's Logan Moore who smashed a game-tying solo homer to right, tying things at 3-3.
The Atlantic League leader in saves, Mike Antonini, worked a scoreless bottom of the ninth to send the game into the Home Run Derby swing-off to decide the winner. With each team getting one batter and eight swings, the Liberty went with Jonathan Galvez while the Freedom selected Tejeda.
After Galvez failed to record a home run, Tejeda drilled the walk-off bomb over the Nemesis in left to secure All-Star Game MVP honors and give the Freedom Division the big win.
Notes: The contest was the first professional baseball game in which balls and strikes were determined by an automated ball-strike system (TrackMan). The Freedom Division improves to 8-3 all-time against the Liberty Division. It was the second Atlantic League All-Star game hosted at PeoplesBank Park; the Freedom Division defeated the Liberty 7-0 in the 2011 classic. Tejeda becomes the first Revs player to take home Atlantic League All-Star Game MVP honors. Vaughn won the pregame Home Run Derby event and teamed with local military veteran Fred Hansen to raise $3,600 for Mr. Sandy’s Homeless Veterans Center. The homer-off was the second of its kind in Atlantic League All-Star Game history, as the 2013 game at Southern Maryland was also determined by postgame long balls.
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