The National All-Stars edged the American All-Stars on a walk off error to win the 2012 Nicewonger All-Star Classic at Municipal Stadium. It was a crazy last at bat for the NL who used a leadoff HBP, a rare Catcher's Interference call and then a throwing error on a routine double play ball to take the 7-6 victory. Riall Moore of the Astros pitched the ninth inning to earn the win for the NL team.
More than 500 fans turned out on a comfortable evening and enjoyed a spirited well played game by both teams. It was 75 at game time and still 65 at game's end.
Once again the night began with a tribute to the person who the All-Star Classic is named after, our former Umpire in Chief Dave "Bubba" Nicewonger, who lost his battle with cancer in 2011.
Welcome to the 2012 San José MSBL Nicewonger Classic.
This annual all-star game is played in tribute to honor the late Dave Nicewonger who served as the league?s Umpire In Chief for 15 years.
Dave served his country in the armed services, was always involved in community organizations and lived his life making others feel better.
His great love of the game of baseball will always be an inspiration to our league and his friendship and service will never be forgotten.
After manager, coach, and player introductions and the playing of the national anthem, everyone was ready for some baseball.
Matt Scott (Giants) got the start on the mound for the National All-Stars and Victor Gonzalez (Royals) was the game's leadoff hitter for the American All-Stars. Gonzalez hit a soft grounder right at the third baseman for an easy first out of the inning. Chris Rains (Orioles) was the first baserunner of the game as he beat out a grounder in the hole between short and third for an infield hit. Rains then stole second to move into scoring position. Scott got the second out of the inning as Ralph Sandoval (Royals) flied to right field. Ben Hartshorn (Red Sox) knocked in the first run of the game hitting a soft liner to shallow center field, scoring Rains. Scott got David Chezar (Colt .45s) to hit a routine grounder to third for the final out.
Steve Connolly (Royals) got his second straight All-Star start for the American All-Stars. Unlike last year's dominating performance, Connolly started out shaky walking Jimmy Carlton (Astros) on four straight pitches. Connolly got Don Chambers (Giants) to strike out swinging at a wild pitch curve ball in the dirt. With first base occupied, Chambers was automatically out, but the wild pitch went to the backstop and Carlton moved to second. Calton moved to third on Steve Goldberg's (Reds) deep fly out to the alley in left-center then scored when first baseman Chezar bobbled a slightly off the mark throw of Kasey Zak's (Brewers) slow roller to second base. Eddie Newman (Mets) ended the inning striking out.
Game tied 1-1 after one inning.
The second inning saw Scott return to the mound for another inning of work. It took him only seven pitches to strikeout Matt Frandsen (Indians) and Roy Williams (Yankees) for the first two outs. TJ Brackett (Angels) lined a double down the right field line but was stranded when Rodney Lopez (White Sox) struck out for the third out.
Connolly also returned for a second inning of work in the bottom of the second. Danny Arballo (Reds) started the inning with a soft liner to shallow center field for a hit. Dave Gibson (Pirates) popped out foul to first base for the first out. Aaron Parker (Padres) was caught looking for the second out. Connolly then lost control of a slow curve ball and hit Andy Evert (Braves), moving Arballo to second. Greg Hancock (Astros) ended the inning grounding out to third, but it took a nifty play by first baseman Chezar as he had to move off the bag, up the line towards home, and avoid a collision while putting the tag on Hancock.
Game tied 1-1 after two innings.
Daniel Nimri (Nationals) took the mound in the top of the third. He was crafty, mixing speeds, locations, and pitches on his way to a one-two-three inning. He struck out Frank Grengo (White Sox), got Gonzalez to pop to short, and caught Rains looking on three pitches.
Brooks Tamone (Twins) was on the mound in the bottom of the third. Brett McNay (Marlins) led off with a mile high pop out to third just on the rim of the outfield grass. Carlton made the second out as he hit a slow two hopper back to the box. Chambers hit a high chopper that the shortstop had to rush and barehand. He couldn't come up with it and Chambers had an infield hit. He was stranded, though, as Goldberg hit his second deep flyout, this one to center field, for the third out.
Game tied 1-1 after three innings.
Dan Cheong (SJ Giants) was dominating on the mound for the National All-Stars in the top of the fourth as he quickly took care of Sandoval and Frank Rodriguez (Red Sox), both caught looking at third-strike curve balls. A routine grounder to short by Chezar ended the inning in one-two-three fashion.
The National All-Stars rallied for a run in the fourth. Tamone still on the mound, he got two quick outs by striking out Zak and getting Newman to pop out to second. Arballo started the rally knocking a line drive over the shallow-playing center fielder's head. The ball rolled all the way to the fence for a triple. Gibson knocked Arballo in with a soft pop single to left center giving the National All-Stars a 2-1 lead. Parker hit a single, but Andy Evert popped out to first base to end the inning and the rally.
National All-Stars lead 2-1 after four innings.
Paul Codiga (Braves) made his fourth straight All-Star appearance on the bump in the top of the fifth. Codiga's given up only one run (unearned) in his three previous appearances totaling 4 1/3 innings. Once again, Codiga shut down the offense getting Steve Tougas (Mariners) to ground to short, Steve Siegle (A's) to pop to first, and José Salas (A's) to ground to third. The only blip was Jonathan Gutierrez' (Yankees) single to right.
Ken Gentert (Colt .45s) threw the fifth for the American All-Stars and shut down the offense, too, giving up a sole leadoff single to Kevin Ventura (Pirates) before getting Nimri to pop to the catcher, Cheong to fly to center, and Casey Ramback (Mets) to hit a one hopper back to the pitcher.
National All-Stars lead 2-1 after five innings.
Eddie Newman (Mets) took the mound in the top of the sixth. Jamal Fulton (Rays) popped to second and Tony Lorensen (Mariners) grounded to third for two quick outs to start the inning. The American All-Stars then put together a two-out rally. Tamone doubled past a diving Tougas in right field to start the rally. Tamone scored and tied the game 2-2 on a throwing error to first by third baseman Hancock of Ryan Becks' (Royals) slow roller. Rodriguez ended the rally when he fouled out by first base.
The National All-Stars took the momentum right back in the bottom of the sixth. After pitching an easy fifth inning, Gentert was knocked back into the reality of pitching in an All-Star game as Frank Olmos (Knights), Troy Marcyes (Brewers), Mike Cook (Giants), and Jim Bellew (Braves) hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back doubles, three of which were hit in the right center gap. Olmos, Marcyes, and Cook all scored and that put an end to Gentert's evening on the mound.
Bryce Shepherd (Rays) relieved Gentert and was given a rude welcome of his own as Jordan Romero (Reds) singled to right field scoring Bellew and making the score 6-2. Shepherd fought back, though. He struck out Dan Evert (Knights) and got Nick Caravelli Jr. (Marlins) to pop to first base. Ventura got on when the shortstop bobbled his ground ball, but Shepherd got Nimri to ground into a fielders choice as Ventura was forced at second to end the inning.
National All-Stars lead 6-2 after six innings.
Tom Herrington (Braves) threw the seventh for the National All-Stars. Like his Brave teammate Codiga, Herrington breezed through the inning. Called third strikes took out Charles Sciutti (Twins) and Matt Fraser (Orioles) for the first two outs. Ray Montez (Twins) slipped in a single to center before Gabriel Soza (Colt .45s) ended the inning with a soft groundout to short.
Jason Perkins (Angels) had a one-two-three bottom of the seventh. Cheong struck out, Ramback hit a dribbler in front of the plate easily handled by the catcher who tossed out Ramback at first. Olmos ended the inning with a popout to short.
National All-Stars lead 6-2 after seven innings.
Down four runs late in the game the American All-Stars needed a rally and it came in the top of the eighth. With Dan Evert on the mound, the American All-Stars rallied for four runs to tie the game at 6-6. Bryan Venturini (Tigers) got the rally started getting a base-on-balls from Evert. Venturini's Tiger teammate Bob Harden ripped a double down the left field line that one hopped the wall. This put Venturini on third and Harden on second. Shepherd struck out for the first out, but Bobby Straight (Indians) put the rally back in motion getting hit by a 50 mph inside curveball. That was it for Evert as he was replaced on the hill by Don Chambers (Giants). Nerves may have gotten to Chambers as he wild pitched in Venturini from third with Harden and Straight also moving up a base. Becks joined the rally hitting a groundball single to right, scoring Harden and Straight and pulling the American All-Stars within one at 6-5. Hartshorn made the second out when he hit a screaming line drive right at the shortstop. Chezar reached on a bobbled grounder to short, moving Becks to second. Fraser tied the game with an RBI pop single behind third base, scoring Becks. Chambers finally got out of the inning getting Montez to pop to first for the third out.
Perkins kept the momentum with the American All-Stars as he shut down the National All-Stars offense with his second inning of work on the mound. Marcyes flew to center, Cook grounded to short, and Romero hit into a fielders choice as Bellew, on via a walk, was forced at second.
Game tied 6-6 after eight innings.
Eight innings down and nothing settled.
The air was let out of the American balloon in the top of the ninth. After scoring four runs and tying the game in the eighth, the American All-Stars put up little fight against Riall Moore (Astros) as it was a quick one-two-three. Soza hit a dribbler to first base for the first out and both Venturini and Harden grounded to short.
Steve McLean (Royals) took to the hill in the bottom of the ninth. Nothing went right for McLean. The craziness began with McLean hitting Andy Evert. Evert moved to second when Evan Nakagawa's (SJ Giants) swing caught the catcher's glove and the umpire called catcher's interference. This put Nakagawa on first and Evert on second. With nobody out, Caravelli smashed a grounder to short. The shortstop flipped to second for the force, but Bobby Straight's throw to first for the double play bounced past Venturini at first allowing Evert to score the winning run.
National All-Stars win 7-6.