For All-Star Game at Coca-Cola Park, Everyone Gets Their Name in Lights

Jul 27, 2017 5:25 PM
Douglas B. Brill

A first-of-its-kind All-Star game at the home of the IronPigs.

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Lehigh Valley put a few defensive plays on the highlight reel. Trouble is there’s no reel long enough to make up for the way Bux-Mont hit the ball.

The Bux-Mont MSBL All-Stars defeated the Lehigh Valley MSBL All-Stars in a first-of-its kind All-Star Game on Saturday at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown in the Lehigh Valley Men’s Baseball League Game of the Week.

At the 10,000 seat home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Philadelphia Phillies top Minor League Baseball affiliate, the 45-and-over squad from Bux-Mont banged out double digit hits and runs in a 13-2 victory over the 45-and-over squad from Lehigh Valley.

It was the first interleague All-Star game for the LV MSBL, at least in the nine years that the game has been held at Coca-Cola Park. It was possibly the first interleague All-Star game in the LV MSBL’s 29-year history.

“I can't tell you how great it was to play in that stadium and you guys were the ultimate hosts,” Henry Fregeau, of the Bux-Mont All-Stars, said about playing at Coca-Cola Park. “We take pride in conducting ourselves in a professional manner and enjoy the camaraderie that is forged when playing in these events. The Bux-Mont league is honored to be asked to play in this event.”

‘Worthy of ESPN’

It was a back-and-forth first inning, a scoreless second, and then it was all Bux-Mont.

Bux-Mont scored two runs in the top of the first and Jamy Ritter of the Springtown Mudcats made sure it wasn’t more. The left fielder made a long sprint back and slightly toward the gap to make an over-the-shoulder running catch and take away a would-be triple with runners on.

It was the kind of catch that every player hopes to have a chance to make on a big stage like the All-Star game. “Worthy of ESPN,” Lehigh Valley Manager Brian Stine of the Diamondbacks said. “Catch of the game.”

Lehigh Valley came back with two runs in the bottom half. Bulldog Don Link of the Diamondbacks knocked in Ritter and Chad Arnold of the Mudcats, who each had singled. Arnold’s slide beat the tag at home and tied the game.

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Pitcher Dave Palumbo of the Mudcats followed with a 1-2-3 inning, but Lehigh Valley was shutout in its half and then Bux-Mont turned on the hit factory.

Catcher Ed Moravec of the Gorilla A’s threw out a base stealer, pitcher Ed Boyce of the Cardinals picked off a runner at second base in absolutely dead-duck fashion, and Matt Hansen of the Cardinals and Tim Brader of the Mudcats were among players adding hits.

It just wasn’t enough to keep up with the Bux-Mont offense.

Double Date

The other stars will still have their chance to shine, too.

Game 2 pitting the Black & Blue Division All-Stars against the Elite 18 & 25 All-Stars was rained out, as was Game 3 between the 18 All-Stars and 25 All-Stars.

But the IronPigs, partners to the LV MSBL for 9 seasons, graciously hurried to get to work with LV MSBL President Ron Cahill to offer another date. Games 2 and 3 will now be played beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 17, at Coca-Cola Park.

“It's great to know that we'll get another crack at our big day. The players' reactions to the rainout truly illustrated just how much it means to them to perform at such a beautiful facility and how deeply they care about getting on the wonderful stage at Coca-Cola Park,” Cahill said.

“Thanks to the IronPigs and Coca-Cola Park, these players will still get their chance to deliver the performance they are so passionate about delivering,” Cahill added. “Thank you to Coca-Cola Park and the IronPigs for being such wonderful partners to the LV MSBL for almost a full decade now, as well as all that they do for the Lehigh Valley baseball community.”

Hitting the High Notes

No amount of rain would dampen these voices.

Fans and players were treated to two breath-taking renditions of “The Star Spangled Banner,” one performed by Tiffany Cahill and the other by Melody Cruz. The performances were so impeccable that they visibly took players by surprise.

The All-Stars, lined up on the baseline with their caps to their hearts, dutifully looked toward the U.S. flag above the grassy hill beyond the centerfield wall. But it wasn’t long into Cruz’s rendition that the players started exchanging approving glances as if to ask “Are you hearing this?”

As Cruz continued to belt out note upon powerful note, the glances turned into outright looks of astonished endorsement. Well before the end, many players were so impressed that they couldn’t help but turn their heads and try to spot the person producing the beautiful bellows.

Cruz and Cahill each exited to hearty applause.

Light of Heart

While the players played and the singers sang, the concourse turned into a bit of a party.

Or maybe it was more of an animal house. The Pony Party Bus delighted children who rode on carriages drawn by miniature ponies, Hound Hunters of NEPA brought heart-melting puppies for adoption, and balloon animals made by Zoe the Clown continually evoked remarks about the skilled craftsmanship.

LV MSBL sponsors including Big Pixel Studio, Reagle Insurance, and Hound Hunters, plus the Bethlehem Umpires Association, were delighted to see their video advertisements play on the the largest high-definition video board in Minor League Baseball. Big Pixel created the advertisements.

The Iron Pigs organization provided one final touch. Realizing the rain would keep many of the excited players off the field for the day, Coca-Cola Park staff provided the consolation of displaying each and every All-Star’s name, individually, on the 3,139-square-foot high-definition video board.

The gesture delivered what every All-Star wants. Everyone got the chance to see their name in lights.

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