Wednesday night was chock full of All-Star action. While the New York Yankees’ Jose Pirela helped lead his International League All-Stars to victory in the Triple-A All Star Game, the Trenton Thunder’s four representatives weren’t so lucky. The East and West Divisions of the Eastern League squared off for Double-A supremacy and the West walked away victorious 5-2.
The festivities began Tuesday night from Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona with the Ghostman Games. It is a two part contest that consists of a hitting challenge and a skills challenge. New York Yankees prospects Peter O’Brien and Gary Sanchez took part in the event. The skills challenge had everything from bubble gum blowing to a dodgeball contest against the Altoona Curve mascots. The East came out of the skills contest with a lead. Despite O’Brien’s five home runs in the hitting challenge, Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Willy Garcia had the walk-off winning blast for the West division.
The game wasn’t much different as the West dominated the East. West pitchers combined for twelve strikeouts on the night, and the Trenton Thunder’s representatives weren’t much help. Left fielder Ben Gamel started the night and finished 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Peter O’Brien who started at DH for the East went 0-for-4 with a strikeout of his own. Gary Sanchez came into the game at catcher, and went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts. On the positive side, Tyler Webb, who was promoted to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre following the game, struck out the only two batters he faced on the night.
Right fielder Steven Moya of the Erie SeaWolves of the Detroit Tigers farm system was the offensive hero for the West blasting a grand slam in the fifth inning with two outs. Portland SeaDogs shortstop Derrick Gibson went yard for the East to give them an early lead, but the bats began missing everything shortly after. It was a rather ugly night for the East division but a strong performance by the all stars overall.
While Tyler Webb heads north to Triple-A, O’Brien, Sanchez, and Gamel get back to business Thursday for the Thunder. Manny Banuelos takes the mound to start the second half of the season as the Thunder square off against the Binghamton Mets. First pitch is 6:35 PM.