Updated July 19 2006
American All-Stars Outlast National All-Stars, 7-6
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - The 2006 Coastal Plain League All-Star Game was everything fans thought it would be, as the National and American CPL All-Star teams slugged it out for nine innings at J.P. Riddle Stadium in Fayetteville, N.C. In the end, it was the American team left standing, as they took a 7-6 victory over the National squad Tuesday night.
The National All-Stars jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks in part to a home run to left-center by Spartanburgs Keion Graves (Spartanburg Methodist). But the American squad wouldnt just roll over, as they stormed back with three runs in the bottom of the third inning.
One inning later and the American All-Stars would increase their lead to 5-2 with a run scored in both the fifth and sixth innings. In the top of the seventh, the National team racked up four runs on three hits, including a double by Martinsvilles Brett Thomas (Ferrum) that put the National All-Stars back on top, 6-5.
The American team, however, wouldnt back down, as they knotted the game up at 6-6 in the bottom of the seventh when Florences Chris Keenan (Old Dominion) scored from third on a wild pitch. Wilsons Mike Flye (East Carolina) pitched masterfully in the top half of the eighth to give his fellow American All-Stars a chance in the bottom half.
It was then that the American team took advantage as Outer Banks Nate Parks (Virginia Tech) led off with a walk, stole second and then reached third and crossed the plate on two wild pitches to put the American squad on top, 7-6.
The win by the American Team, led by Fayettevilles Darrell Handelsman and Florences Sean Heffernan, was the first in three years.
After the game, the League honored the Rawlings Offensive and Defensive Players of the All-Star Game. Parks took home the Rawlings Offensive Player trophy after going 1-for-2, with a triple, a walk, a stolen base, one RBI, and two runs scored, including the game-winner. Meanwhile, New Berns Gino Matais (St. Johns) was selected as the Rawlings Defensive Player of the Game for his spectacular play at second base throughout the night, highlighted by a huge diving play in the middle infield during the bottom of the seventh that kept the score tied instead of allowing the American team to take the lead.
The Coastal Plain League is the nations hottest summer collegiate baseball league, now in its 10th season. Featuring 15 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, the CPL is certified by Major League Baseball, and gives college players the chance to refine their skills with wooden bats during the summer months. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com.