VIENNA , Va. June 30—The 2007 Joe Branzell All-Star Game and Home Run Derby between the top stars of two premier wooden bat summer collegiate baseball leagues—the Clark Griffith League and the Maryland Collegiate Baseball League—was a smashing success Saturday night.
The All-Star Game, which began at 7 p.m. at Waters Field in Vienna , Va. ended with a 10-2 victory for the Clark Griffith League All-Stars. About 500 fans came to see the contest and were not denied a great game. The Clark Griffith League All-Star pitchers combined for a total of five hits and seven strikeouts, while the batters compiled 15 hits. The teams had a different pitcher each inning and made one major fielding change in the sixth inning to allow every All-Star some time on the field. After the contest, each All-Star was given a souvenir bat and game programs.
The Clark Griffith League All-Stars retired their opponents in order in the first, as Robbie Shields made a leaping catch to get the third out. Juan Mujica of the DC Grays grounded out to start the first inning for the Clark Griffith League All-Stars, then Kelly Muir of the McLean Raiders came up to bat. While he was batting, he fouled off a pitch which hit him in the mouth. He was able to walk off the field by himself but did not play again in the game.
Cody Lassley, a utility player from the Vienna Senators, finished Muir's at bat and took his place in left field. Lassley struck out looking for the second out. Then, Itawamba Community College product Nick Wheeler launched a home run to left center to put the team on board. It was the first of the three home runs hit by the Clark Griffith League All-Stars.
The Maryland Collegiate Baseball League All-Stars answered that run with one of their own in the second. Matt Anuszewski of the Maryland Orioles brought Wade Keenan home with a sacrifice fly to right field to tie the score at 1-1.
But the Clark Griffith League All-Stars put up another run in the bottom of the second. Robbie Shields crossed the plate safely when LaDale Hayes hit a sacrifice fly to left field.
The score stayed 2-1 until the fourth inning, when the Clark Griffith All-Stars chalked up their third run. Ty Boyles of the Fairfax Nationals got an RBI off an infield single to score Robbie Shields, who had reached on a single.
The Maryland Collegiate Baseball League added its second and final run of the game in the top of the fifth, as Josh Wenderoth scored on a wild pitch. The Clark Griffith League All-Stars then charged ahead with four runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull ahead, 7-2.
With two outs in the fifth, Alex Gregory of the Fairfax Nationals singled to get things rolling for the team. Then Robbie Shields knocked a two-run home run to center field. Curtis Eward of the Fairfax Nationals followed with his own solo shot. Bethesda Blue Caps player Jason Kitchen doubled to get on base and LaDale Hayes of the DC Grays followed with an RBI double to score Kitchen. Ty Boyles struck out to end the inning, but the damage had been done. The Maryland Collegiate Baseball League were not able to recover from the deficit.
The Clark Griffith League All-Stars added one run in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Steven Gauthe scored in the seventh as Matt Rizzuto grounded into a double play. In the eighth inning, Juan Mujica scored the ninth run of the game as Alex Gregory hit an RBI single. In the ninth inning, LaDale Hayes scored the final run.
Even though the Clark Griffith League All-Stars had a 9-2 lead after the top of the ninth, it is traditional to go a full nine innings in the Joe Branzell All-Star Game because it allows each player some game time.
The All-Star Game is named in memory of Joe Branzell, a long-time coach in the Clark Griffith League and a supporter of amateur baseball in the Washington area. Branzell led the Washington boys Club and Federal Storage teams to 12 consecutive league championships from 1951-62 and he guided Federal Storage to All American Amateur Baseball Association (AAABA) national titles in 1956, 1960 and 1962. Branzell then spent more than 30 years as a major league scout with the Washington Senators and Texas Randers. He passed away in September 1997.
The Maryland Collegiate Baseball League and the Clark Griffith League will continue to meet this season in inter-league doubleheaders. To follow along with inter-league action, go to www.ClarkGriffithBaseball.com to check out the league schedule to see when your favorite teams are playing.
The Clark Griffith League would like to congratulate each All-Star and the teams of both leagues for their successes to this point in the season. The Clark Griffith League is proud to have hosted this year's Joe Branzell All-Star Game and Home Run Derby and looks forward to next year's event.
For further information, go to www.ClarkGriffithBaseball.com or contact the public relations intern, Kristin Pratt, at (703) 401-6416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.