Zehner rallies East to EL All-Star victory

Yankees outfielder named BUSH'S MVP with two hits, two RBIs

Zack Zehner scored BUSH'S Beans All-Star MVP honors for keying the Eastern comeback. (Sarah Lanau/New Hampshire Fisher Cats)

By Craig Forde / Special to MiLB.com | July 12, 2017 11:44 PM

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- The Granite State is well known for its propensity toward fireworks.

On Wednesday night, 6,102 fans at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium were treated to them before, during and after the Eastern League All-Star Classic. The biggest outburst went off during a seven-run sixth inning that allowed the East Division to roll away with a 7-1 win over the West. Yankees outfielder Zack Zehner keyed the frame with a two-run double en route to nabbing BUSH'S Beans All-Star MVP honors.

Video: Trenton's Zehner rips two-run single to center

"They come heavy with the fireworks shows," No. 7 Blue Jays prospect Conner Greene of the host Fisher Cats said.

Trailing after the second inning, 1-0, the East bats were held to five singles over the first five innings.

Thunder third baseman Thairo Estrada led the frame off with the first walk of the game, followed by a single from Reading's Carlos Tocci. Two strikeouts later, New Hampshire's Ryan McBroom stroked a single to left field that brought Estrada around with the tying run.

Trenton's Zehner, who came in as a defensive replacement in the sixth, then ripped a single to center that plated Tocci and McBroom and gave the East a lead that quickly got extended.

Gameday box score

"Coming off the bench, I hadn't swung the bat in a while," Zehner said. "I wanted to get my hacks in. So I was just trying to be aggressive early, see something over the plate, and thankfully, he came right at me."

Zehner finished the game 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a run and also scored a cooler full of ice-cold water after being named BUSH's Beans All-Star MVP.

"It's refreshing. It's been humid out, so I don't mind it," he said. "Today was a lot of fun."

The East sent 12 men to the plate in the sixth with the final RBI of the frame off the bat of Tocci, who singled again, this time to first.

Video: New Hampshire's Heidt doubles to score two

"I remember McBroom getting the base hit to tie the game there, then there were the doubles -- Gunnar Heidt had a big two-run double," said New Hampshire skipper Gary Allenson, who handled managerial duties for the Eastern Division. "Everybody contributed. We batted [12] guys in the inning. Obviously, a team effort."

The West Division scored its lone run in the second. Bowie's Aderlin Rodriguez, who won the circuit's Home Run Derby on Tuesday, doubled to left and was driven in on a two-bagger to left by Akron's Yu-Cheng Chang.

After that, the East -- which only had nine pitchers at its disposal -- allowed just three hits the rest of the way.

Phils' Walding carries on slugging tradition

Greene logged the most time on the hill, throwing two scoreless innings in front of his home crowd and striking out four, including the last three hitters of the fourth.

"He said that there was a shot I was going to do two," said Greene of Allenson's gameplan. "It wasn't confirmed. Right after the first [inning I pitched], he said, 'Hey, you're going back out for the second, so go do work.' I was happy to give them whatever they needed."

"Conner wasn't the only one who pitched well. They all did," the manager added.

Reading's Drew Anderson also hurled two scoreless frames and New Hampshire's Dusty Isaacs struck out the side in a flawless eighth. Portland's Danny Mars went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run for the victors.

MiLB include

"I was hoping we'd win," Zehner said. "That's what we were going for in the dugout. I didn't have any expectations. I just wanted to have a lot of fun."

It was the third consecutive All-Star victory for the East Division.

Prior to the game, rain swept through Manchester about an hour prior to the scheduled first pitch, causing a delayed start of approximately 23 minutes. There were no additional delays and the game was completed in two hours and 28 minutes.

Craig Forde is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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