Manitoba Senior Baseball League all-star Isaac Rodriguez leaps into the air to make a catch at second base as Winnipeg Senior Baseball League all-star Reid Ferguson slides in safely during the third inning of Saturday evening’s Broken Bat Classic at Andrews Field. The MSBL all-stars won the game 4-2. (COLIN CORNEAU/THE BRANDON SUN)
It took a while for the Manitoba Senior Baseball League bats to get going, but the MSBL all-stars did earn bragging rights over the Winnipeg Senior Baseball League all-stars in the inaugural Broken Bat Classic on Saturday night at Andrews Field.
Mitch Olson of the Reston Rockets drove in two runs with a double in the eighth inning to give the MSBL its first lead of the game, and they hung on for a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg all-stars.
While the game was close, Olson, who went 1-for-4 with one run and two RBIs, took a lot of pride in beating the best senior baseball players from Manitoba’s largest city.
"I think it’s good for the league," he said.
"It’s good to play those guys, too. It was a good game. It means quite a bit to us. We don’t want those city guys coming in and beating us. We came up big at the end, so that’s good."
Although the game featured some of the best hitters from the two leagues, it was the pitchers who shone early on.
Cole Stober of the Rockets, Paul Thompson of the Brandon Houstons Marlins and Rogelio Ortiz of the Oak River Dodgers held the WSBL all-stars to two hits through the first five innings.
Mac Batchelor and Neil Walton were just as effective for Winnipeg.
Batchelor allowed three hits and struck out four in three innings, while Walton retired nine of the 10 batters he faced, walking the only one he didn’t get out.
The WSBL got its only rally of the game in the sixth inning when Curtis Furber was driven home by Aaron Hildebrandt’s single and Kevin Reimer scored on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Tilbury.
But the MSBL replied in the seventh when Bryan White of the Neepawa Farmers scored on a sacrifice fly by Isaac Rodriguez, a fellow Farmer.
Reston’s Buddy Mayert really gave the MSBL some life when he led off the eighth inning with a triple.
Olson drove him and Vince Lujan — who was pinch running for Oak River’s Colin Bates — home with his double, with Olson later scoring on a double by White.
White finished the game
1-for-4 with one run and one RBI while, Mayert went 2-for-4.
Lujan, who plays with Neepawa, threw three scoreless innings in which he allowed only one hit and struck out four to close out the game and earn the win. Even though Lujan took the mound with his team down by a pair of runs, he felt confident the MSBL would rally.
"I knew my team was going to come back and win. I knew it," Lujan said.
"I’ve been with these guys all year and I’ve seen them hit. They always give it a good battle."
Aaron Friesen took the loss for the WSBL, after allowing three runs on three hits in one inning of work.
This was the first all-star game featuring MSBL players since 2010.
Last year’s game was cancelled due to the large number of makeup games.
Prior all-star games featured MSBL players split into two squads that went head-to-head. Olson said he loved playing in Saturday’s game and hopes this format continues next season.
"I had a lot of fun," he said. "I think a lot of the guys had quite a bit of fun and it was a good game. I hope to do it again in the future."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 16, 2012