E.A. Sports Today

The perfect prize

Americans use late rally to beat Nationals 4-1 in SBL All-Star Game; GolDiggers’ Boser named MVP

All-Star Game MVP Bobby Boser mans his position for the American Stars; the GolDiggers’ shortstop scored the only run on the scoreboard behind him after hitting a triple. On the cover, Boser accepts the MVP bat from Sunbelt Baseball League commissioner Todd Pratt. (Photos by Isabella Martinez)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – There may not be a more appreciative MVP in a Sunbelt Baseball League All-Star Game than Gainesville GolDiggers’ Bobby Boser. And there might never be a more welcomed prize.

Boser, the GolDiggers’ infielder, was named the most valuable player Sunday after helping the American Team beat the Nationals 4-1 at Choccolocco Park.

The rising South Florida sophomore went 1-for-3 with a first at-bat triple, scored the first run of the game and drove in the last run with a sacrifice fly in a three-run eighth inning that decided the game.

Boser’s reward for winning the game’s top player honor was a brand new bat – and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Because he broke his only bat on the sacrifice fly that gave the A’s a 4-1 lead.

“I needed the bat because my last at-bat I broke one,” Boser said of the red-and-blue 243. “That’s my style. It’s a little end-loaded. I’m going to use it tomorrow. I don’t have a backup. I could put some tape on it and use it for BP a few times, but I don’t know about another game swing for that bat.”

Boser’s triple was a one-out rocket to the gap in right center and prompted the stadium public address to say he was “a pretty good hitter for a catcher” then realized Boser was the A’s shortstop. The remark brought a chuckle from SBL commissioner Todd Pratt, a former big-league catcher, the crowd in the stands and even the player himself.

Boser scored on a two-out single to left by Atlanta Crackers’ first baseman Cam Suto.

“I enjoy having fun on the field, so hearing anything like that, having a good laugh, is always good,” Boser said.

The A’s scored their three runs in the eighth off Choccolocco Monsters’ right-handed workhorse Will Griffith. Monsters teammates Josh Cooper, Alexander McKay and Weston Kirk also were on the Nats’ roster.

Cooper played the entire game at short and went 0-for-3 at the plate, but hit a hot shot off the pitcher in his first at-bat. McKay pitched the seventh inning ahead of Griffith and turned back a threat with a strikeout and an inning-ending double play that had Cooper in the middle.

Griffith came in with the game tied. He walked Columbus’ Zane Ross and Gainesville’s Jackson Mayo to open the inning. After Ross stole third, Atlanta Crackers’ Scott Campbell chopped a ball to short that Cooper bobbled and brought the go-ahead run home.

Gainesville’s Theodor Bryant dropped a single into short right field to score Mayo, and then after Bryant and Campbell pulled off a double steal, Boser got enough wood on a swing to loft his broken-bat sacrifice fly to left plate the final run.

“I started getting ready about the fourth, just treated it like a start, just for an inning,” said Griffith, who outside of the outcome enjoyed the experience of pitching in his home park and mingling with the league’s best players. “I just lost a little command early in the inning. The pitches were there, I was just missing early. I’ve got to start better.”

The Americans’ pitchers, led by Gainesville’s league-leading pitching staff, gave their team every chance to win. All five GolDiggers pitchers available for the game worked a combined seven innings, giving up five hits, one run and striking out seven. The win went to Blake Wehunt. Blues outfielder Miles Austin drove in the Nats’ run with a two-out game-tying single in the seventh off Wehunt.

“All seven guys we ran out there they all came out and did a great job of just pounding the zone,” Americans manager Steve Smith of the Chatt-a-Hoots said. “(The GolDiggers) have a really good pitching staff all the way up and down. I think they brought three of their starters and all those guys were slated to pitch. They hadn’t had a game since Wednesday, so that gave them a little bit of a break.

“They have been the best team in the league up to this point in the season and obviously their pitching staff has been the top one in the league, so it made sense for them to have the amount of guys they had on their and they all threw exceptional well today.”

In related news, Tremarr Johnson, an honorable mention National all-star from the Atlanta Blues, was the No. 4 overall pick of Sunday’s MLB draft. The Mays (Ga.) High School senior was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

SBL All-Star Game
American 4, National 1

Mayo, cf-rf3100Poist, eh3000
Campbell, eh4 120Bennett, lf4000
Bryant, dh3011Herring, rf4010
Thompson, c3000Carson, 3b4110
Gilliam, c1000Kaiser, c2000
Boser, ss3 111Pendleton, c1000
Moore, 3b3000Jones, 1b3010
Suto, 1b4021Austin, cf3011
Brooks, eh-lf4010Jackson, eh3000
Underhill, 2b4000Richardson, 2b2010
Ross, cf-lf3110Cooper, ss3000
American0100000304 8 0
National0000001001 5 2

E: Carson, Cooper. DP: National 1. LOB: American 9, National 6. SB: Campbell 2, Bryant, Ross 2. SF: Boser. 3B: Boser.

Wehunt (W)131102Norton110002
Valentine (S)100001Griffith (L)113221

Choccolocco Monsters coach Dalton Cobb watches the action on the field from the National Stars’ dugout. Monsters’ Weston Kirk is seated beside him. (Photo by Isabella Martinez)

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