RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. -- A few days ago, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes manager Bill Haselman asked Brandon Trinkwon, one of his infielders, where in the lineup he wanted to hit during the California League-Carolina League All-Star Game.
Trinkwon told his manager he wanted to hit second, and when he left the conversation, he figured he would be at top of the lineup, where he usually hits. But when he arrived at the ballpark on Tuesday, Trinkwon noticed something unusual. Haselman, also managing the Cal League team, had decided to bat him ninth.
"He came in here, kidding with me," Haselman said. "But I knew he was going to play the whole game and I wanted the other guys to get enough at-bats."
The ninth spot proved a good fit for Trinkwon, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and two RBIs in the California League's 9-2 victory at LoanMart Field, his home park. He was named MVP and took home the engraved bat that goes with the Top Star Award.
"I couldn't ask for a better All-Star Game," said Trinkwon, a second baseman. "It's awesome winning it here."
The Cal League led almost throughout. Ramon Torres of the Wilmington Blue Rocks drew a first-inning walk, stole second scored on two wild pitches to put the Carolina League in front. But the home team took control, scoring one run in the second, two in the third, three in the fourth and three more in the sixth.
One of Trinkwon's teammates, first baseman Cody Bellinger, delivered an RBI double in the third and added a sacrifice fly in the sixth. High Desert Mavericks catcher Alex Burg was 2-for-2 with a walk and Modesto Nuts third baseman Ryan McMahon chipped in two hits and scored twice.
The Cal League totaled 13 hits, three more than the Carolina League.
The game got off to an inauspicious start as Salem Red Sox first baseman Sam Travis drilled a ground ball up the middle that struck Cal League starter Zack Godley of the Visalia Rawhide in the leg. Godley left immediately, but Haselman said he should be fine.
"You don't like to see anyone get hit in an All-Star Game," Haselman said.
Pitchers generally threw one inning and, perhaps because they were working with unfamiliar catchers -- and there were 19 of them between the two teams -- threw six wild pitches and two passed balls. The game also featured four errors.
"You can't forget that they are All-Stars, but they are in A-ball. They are going to make mistakes," Haselman noted. "It is what it is. They did a great job."
As for Trinkwon, he'll go back to hitting at the top of the Quakes lineup when the season resumes. He's batting .302 with four homers and 27 RBIs, and he usually hits first, second or third.
"He is a tough out for pitchers," Haselman said. "He has a good idea of what to do at the plate. He plays the game hard."
Trinkwon plans to give his MVP trophy to his parents because "they love keeping that stuff." And he said he had no real problem hitting ninth in an All-Star lineup.
"With as many good hitters as we have here, I could have been hitting anywhere," he added.