By Andrew Mild
Baseball has always been about numbers. Whether it be about the batting average in a 3-1 count versus a 2-2 count, or what part of the strike zone does this hitter struggle in. So it was easy to think that, because of the numbers, that a Corn Dog would walk away with the Northern League All-Star Game MVP award at Oil City Stadium in Whiting Tuesday night.
Check out the box score on Pointstreak.
The Corn Dogs had 10 players selected to represent the East team — six hitters and four pitchers, including starting pitcher Jimmy Burke.
Gavin Terry, Tyler Schultz and Doug Loden all were starters for the East team and all would make an impact. Loden single-handedly had brought the East team back into the game, crushing a no-doubt home run into right and an RBI double into left later on in the game. He would score on a grounder to second to make it 4-3 for the West.
“He threw me a changeup first pitch,” Loden said. “It faded away for a ball. Kids know who I am, so I know I’m not going to get many first-pitch fastballs. He got down 2-0, and then I fouled another one off. As a hitter, you always sit fastball and adjust. I was sitting fastball and he threw me one, and I put a good swing on it and it went.”
The score was 4-3 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning with the tying run at second base. Cal Curiel stepped up to the plate. Who would you rather have at the plate Corn Dogs fans? The cardiac kid delivered with a hit into right to knot the game at four.
Conor Pangburn pitched a scoreless ninth and had to pitch the tenth, which started with a runner on second base and no outs. The Purdue Northwest commit allowed no runs to set up a bottom of the tenth where the East could win the game, walk-off style.
In the bottom of the tenth, Loden hit a ground ball to short but the throw sailed over first, scoring Corn Dogs catcher Nicholas Johnstone, ending the game with a 5-4 victory for the East.
Loden won MVP after going 2-4 with a home run, double, two RBI’s and a run scored. Roman Kuntz also played in the game and reached base via a walk.
“It’s a great honor to win the MVP award,” Loden said. “I really respect this league; it’s getting better and better each year. It’s great baseball. It’s nice to be at home in the summer when you’re going away for college and play competitive baseball.”
The Corn Dogs pitched Burke, Frank Plesac, Ryan Troxel and Pangburn, who got the win for his brilliantly pitched tenth inning.
The Corn Dogs will return to action on the road Thursday against the American Giants. The next home game is Saturday against the Crestwood Panthers at 7 p.m.
Photo by Josh Brunette