The 2019 Coastal Plain League All-Star Showdown, hosted by the Savannah Bananas, concluded Monday, July 8, with the semi-final and championship three-inning games. After all was said and done, the East Division All-Stars took home the title after a 2-1 walk-off victory over the Fan Vote All-Stars in the Championship game.
The day started for the players with an official scout workout which saw every Major League team in attendance to see the players run, hit, field and throw. Mike Williams of the Savannah Bananas highlighted the running portion of the workout, coming in with the fastest 60-time of the group at 6.56.
Later in the night, fans were treated to a show with two semi-final matchups and ultimately the championship showdown to end the night. First up were the East Division All-Stars and South Division All-Stars, that saw pitching dominate early with both starters (Preston Sparks of Macon for the South and Connor Schultz of Morehead City for the East) holding the opposition hit less in the first.
That all ended quickly however as the East All-Stars plated two in the top of the second on a single from David “Itchy” Burts (Holly Springs / Texas A&M Corpus Christi) to score Chris Crabtree (Holly Springs / Duke) and a sac-fly from Jordan Schulefand (Morehead City / Richmond) brought in Austin Bost (Fayetteville / Panola) to push the East’s lead to 2-0. Had Michael Green (Lexington County / Clemson) not made a Sports Center Top 10 worthy superman grab in center on the play however, at least one more run would have scored in the inning.
The South battled back in the bottom half however to push across a run of their own on a Michael Richardson (Florence / Ohio) single to make it 2-1 heading to the third and final inning of play. From there Dustin Saenz (Savannah Bananas / Texas A&M) pitched a clean top half of the inning for the Fan-Vote All-Stars while Zach Taglieri (Forest City / Citadel) came on to close out the 2-1 victory for the East All-Stars. This moved the East on to the Championship game later in the night as they would await to see who would win the second semi-final matchup between the Fan-Vote All-Stars and Hometown Savannah.
Semi-Final number two had a much quicker start that those that preceded it, as the Fan Vote squad got on the board in the top of the first with a sac-fly from Alex Alders (Edenton / Wright State) and an exciting double steal saw Angel Zarate (HP-Thomasville / North Carolina) steal home to push the Fan Vote to a 2-0 lead after the first half inning of play. They would soon score two more in the top of the second, including an RBI single from Zarate to extend their lead to 4-0 over Hometown Savannah.
This was a lead they would not surrender, as the three pitchers for the Fan Vote team did not allow a hit between them in their three innings of work: Kyle King (Gastonia / Georgia College), Davis Palermo (Martinsville / North Carolina) and Jordan Merritt (Savannah / Citadel.) The win secured their spot in the All-Star Showdown Championship versus the East All-Stars.
The 2019 CPL All-Star Showdown Championship was everything the fans could want and more as things were started off with a scorching home run down the left-field line off the bat of Jack Harris (Morehead City / San Francisco State) to give the Fan-Vote All-Stars a 1-0 lead after the top half of the first.
That was not all the excitement in the inning however as Dusty Baker (Morehead City / East Carolina) made a diving grab of his own, robbing Myles Christian of extra-bases.
Things settled in from there, as the score stayed at 1-0 heading to the final half-inning of play with Austin Temple (Savannah Bananas / Jacksonville) entering to close the game and championship for the Fan-Vote All-Stars. The East had other plans however with Crabtree getting the rally started quickly with a leadoff single before ultimately coming around to score and tie the game at one off a Baker sac-fly to left. With Bost standing on second, Jacon Plastiak (Wilmington / Wichita State) stepped up to the plate and sent a one that skipped past the first-basemen and bring the speedy Bost around the score the championship winning run, to give the East All-Stars an exciting 2-1 win.
Following the game the winning team was presented with Championship t-shirts from the host Savannah Bananas. Also earning recognition was Cort Roedig (Macon / Georgia Tech) who earned Most Valuable Pitcher of the All-Star SHowdown honors after striking out all three batters he faced in his one inning of work for the Fan-Vote team on Sunday, earning the save in that game. Meanwhile, the Tucci Lumber Hitter of the All-Star Showdown was Angel Zarate (HP-Thomasville / North Carolina) who went 2-5 across three games with two RBIs and two runs scored for the Fan Vote All-Stars.
The full box scores and play-by-play for all games can be found here:
Quarterfinal One: Fan Vote All-Stars vs. West All-Stars
Quarterfinal Two: North Division All-Stars vs. East Division All-Stars
Semi-Final One: East Division All-Stars vs. South Division All-Stars
Semi-Final Two: Fan Vote All-Stars vs. Hometown Savannah
Championship: Fan Vote All-Stars vs. East Division All-Stars