ROCKLAND COUNTY, NY – A four-run rally in the third inning highlighted by a J.J. Fernandez home run propelled the Frontier League All-Stars ahead of their Can-Am counterparts, as the Frontier League earned the win in the 2019 All-Star Game by a 7-0 final.
The combined efforts from Washington Wild Things’ duo Hector Roa and Fernandez got the scoring started in the third. Following an Austin Wobrock single and a Trevor Achenbach walk, Roa smacked a base hit to centerfield to score Wobrock.
It’s a four-run 3rd inning! Hector Roa’s single drove in Austin Wobrock to get it started. Then, JJ Fernandez hit a three-run BOMB to right scoring Trevor Achenbach and Roa. FL leads, 4-0!
Here’s Roa’s RBI 1B: pic.twitter.com/ikSBQgBGZI
— Frontier League (@FLProBaseball) July 11, 2019
One batter later, Fernandez sent one way out to right field to increase the lead to 4-0. The shot proved to be the game’s difference maker and Washington’s slugger won the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player award.
“I’m blessed,” Fernandez said. “I really appreciate the opportunity to be here with these great group of guys and great group of coaches. It was awesome all around and it was like we were all just having fun playing baseball.”
The Frontier League added a run of insurance in the sixth inning thanks to a Ricky Ramirez Jr. single. Andy Cosgrove came in to score on the play after getting into scoring position by a Chaz Meadows base hit. In the seventh, Rob Calabrese drove in Roa, who reached on a single, to make the score 6-0. The scoring was capped at seven following a Shawon Dunston Jr. sacrifice fly that scored Roa in the ninth.
All 10 Frontier League pitchers threw in the shutout and combined to allow just six hits and two walks while striking out 13. All-Star manager Dennis Pelfrey of the Florence Freedom implemented his entire 25-man active roster into the ballgame.
“Everybody got in, everybody got to showcase what they can do a little bit and everybody performed well,” Pelfrey said. “I wanted them to be themselves and just showcase what they can do and not try to be something they’re not. I think every player should play that way.”
Last season, the Frontier League took a unique route in showcasing the high-level of talent across the then 12 organizations by pitting the class of rookie All-Stars against experienced All-Stars. This season, a joint effort from the Can-Am and Frontier League front offices took the All-Star dynamic to a new level.
The dual league All-Star game was the first of its kind in Frontier League history. The Frontier League represents the longest running independent league in existence over its 27 years of business and the 2019 mid-summer classic offered opportunity for both the Frontier and Can-Am Leagues to grow. The Frontier League coming away victorious was simply icing on the cake.
“I’m very proud of our players, very proud of our League and the kids have done a tremendous job here,” Frontier League Commissioner Bill Lee said. “J.J. with the MVP, all the pitchers did a great job, Dennis Pelfrey did a great job and I’m as proud as I can be of this league right now.”
“I love it,” Pelfrey said. “I think it’s great for independent baseball and I think, on a national stage, it gets showcased to people who really don’t know what independent baseball is. I think the Can-Am League did a great job by having this game on TV where people can watch it and see what the talent really is. Obviously, we showcased well for the Frontier League and the Can-Am League’s got a great group over there too.”
Festivities across a series of three days included a charity banquet with New York Yankees play-by-play broadcaster John Sterling, a mixed-league Home Run Derby with former Major League players Mookie Wilson, John Flaherty and Jesse Barfield, as well as the first ever Can-Am vs. Frontier League All-Star Game. Thanks to the hospitality provided by the Can-Am’s Rockland Boulders organization at Palisades Credit Union Park, the festivities went on without a hitch.
“I thought it was done very well,” Pelfrey said. “It met the expectations for sure and then exceeded them a little bit as far as the ballpark. It’s a phenomenal place to play here in Rockland. The stadium is really nice, the front office has been really nice taking care of us. In terms of setting up the shuttles and tours and everything else – I know it can be hectic for those guys, but they did a great job.”
“From the Frontier League side, Steve Tahsler did a great job,” Lee said. “Overall, I really want to thank all the folks in Rockland County. Shawn Reilly, his entire staff, all the folks from the Can-Am League, all the owners who have welcomed us and the hospitality we’ve received have been great.”
All-Star Game MVP Fernandez finished his night 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBI and a run scored. His Wild Things teammate Roa went 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored. Florence’s Ramirez Jr. and Evansville’s Ryan Long each notched a double, to their credit. In total, the Frontier League pounded out 14 hits and got a man to reach base in all but one inning.
Jonathan Tripp started the contest by striking out the side and began a string of Frontier League arms that would not allow a run. Tyler Gibson, Patrick Ledet, Brian McKenna, Tyler Thornton, Connor Eller, Chase Cunningham, Daren Osby, Taylor Wright and Dakota Smith held the Can-Am League All-Stars scoreless.
The Frontier League season resumes Friday, June 12, as all 10 teams are in action. For more information, please visit FrontierLeague.com.