Updated July 23 2003
South All-Stars Defeat North All-Stars, 3-2 in 12 innings
After a slow start to the 2003 Coastal Plain League All-Star Game at Sims Legion Park in Gastonia, N.C., both offenses finally found the spark they were looking for down the stretch. But despite the Norths efforts, it would be the South that would rally from behind to send the game into extra innings and come away with a 3-2 victory over 12 innings of play.
With Florence’s Josh Cribb, a freshman from Clemson, shutting down the North offense for four straight innings after it had claimed a 2-0 lead, the South hitters were looking to end things in the bottom of the 12th inning. Starting the inning, Gastonia‘s Chris Gaskin singled to left field and would soon advance to second on a single by Fayetteville‘s Allen Thomas.
Then, Asheboro‘s Shaun House, who on the night before had earned the honor of being named Home Run Derby Champion, would reach first off a bunt single that also saw Gaskin go to third and Thomas to second. With the bases loaded and no outs, Wilmington‘s Kenny Smith reached on an error by Peninsula second baseman Carlos Ramirez, allowing Gaskin to score the game-winning run.
In the top of the eighth inning, Wilson‘s Kevin Griffin singled to third base to drive in Petersburg‘s Neil Sellers for the first run of the night. Two batters later and with the bases loaded, Fayetteville‘s Andy Carter walked Ramirez and consequently allowing the second run of the night to score, and hence giving the North a 2-0 lead.
Appearing that the damage had been done, the game went into the bottom of the ninth. But before the North could be declared the champions, the South took the pen away and began to write their own ending.
With one out and two men on, Gaskin stepped up to the plate and connected on a sacrifice fly to right field that drove home Davy Gregg of Florence. Then, Thomas singled to third base to bring in Thomasville’s Chip Cannon and make the score all knotted up at 2-2.
After the game had concluded, Coastal Plain League President Pete Bock honored the players of the game. Fayetteville’s Thomas, a junior at UNC-Greensboro, was awarded the trophy for being named the SW Bat Offensive Player of the All-Star Game, after going 3-for-3 with one RBI on the night. Meanwhile, Florence‘s Cribb earned the Diamond Defensive/Pitcher of the All-Star Game trophy for his efforts on the mound. Cribb went four innings, giving up only two hits and one walk, while striking out four North batters.
The Coastal Plain League is the nations premier college summer baseball league, featuring 13 teams playing in three states (N.C., S.C., Va.) The league is certified by the NCAA and Major League Baseball, and gives college standouts the chance to refine their skills with wooden bats during the summer months. Players are housed with local families for the summer and past experiences have been positive for both players and hosts.