EVERETT, Wash. - Hunter Renfroe of the Eugene Emeralds singled in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning and the South Division rallied for an 8-7 win over the North Division in the 2013 Northwest League All-Star Game, presented by Tulalip Resort Casino, at Everett Memorial Stadium. Playing before a loud and enthusiastic crowd of 3,818, the game capped a day of All-Star festivities that celebrated the return of the league's marquee summer showcase after a ten-year hiatus. Sam Eberle of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes was recognized with the MiLB Top Star Award as the game's most valuable player after going 2-4 with a solo homer and three runs scored.
Renfroe's single capped a three-run rally in the ninth as the South All-Stars overcame a two-run deficit against Everett AquaSox' reliever Jose Valdivia, who took the loss. Eberle singled to lead off the inning and the Eugene Emeralds' Ronnie Richardson reached on an error to put runners at the corners with no outs. NWL hits leader Yogey Perez-Ramos of the Hillsboro Hops lined a single to right to score Eberle and Salem-Keizer's Tyler Hollick hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Richardson and tie the game. Valdivia got the second out, but Renfroe singled through the hole into left field to plate Perez-Ramos with the winning run.
The North Division All-Stars jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the first as the game looked like it was headed towards a slugfest. L.B. Dantzler of the Vancouver Canadians, who is the league-leader in homers, crushed a pitch from Andrew Leenhouts of the Volcanoes over the hand-operated scoreboard in right field for a three-run homer. The South Division team answered with three runs in the top of the second off the Tri-City Dust Devils' Ryan Warner. With two men aboard, Richardson lined a double into the left field corner to push the first run across. Perez-Ramos followed with a sacrifice fly to left. Tri-City's Mike Tauchman made a nice leaping catch against the wall to rob Perez-Ramos of extra bases, but Eberle came in to score. A fielder's choice would then score Richardson to knot the score at 3-3.
The North didn't waste time retaking the lead in the bottom of the inning, however, as another Canadian did some damage. This time it was Justin Atkinson hitting a two-run homer off the Volcanoes' Chris Johnson. In the third, the North All-Stars tacked on a couple of runs on an RBI fielder's choice by Tauchman that scored Vancouver's Mike Reeves and a base hit by the Dust Devils' Alec Mehrten that brought home Dantzler to make it 7-3 and appeared to put the game away.
Eberle began the South comeback, however, when he hit a solo homer to left off Vancouver's Jeremy Gabryszwski in the fourth and Jacob Rogers of the Boise Hawks added a two-out RBI single in the fifth off Tri-City's Johendi Jiminian to cut the lead to 7-5.
Each team put up zeroes over the next three innings until the top of the ninth, when the South struck against Valdivia to take the final lead of the ballgame. Boise's Tyler Bremer earned the save when he fanned Everett's Jack Reinheimer for the final out of the ballgame to seal the win.
The North had seven hits while the South had eight. Dantzler finished 2-4 with a homer, a double, and three RBI for the North, while Perez-Ramos was 1-3 with two RBI and a run scored for the South. Salem-Keizer's Raymundo Montero picked up the win in relief after pitching a scoreless eighth inning.
The teams used a combined 27 position players and 20 pitchers in the game.
The AquaSox All-Star contingent had a solid showing for the North team. Infielders Jack Reinheimer and Justin Seager started and each picked up a hit and scored a run. Pitcher Lars Huijer, who leads the league with seven wins and a 1.57 ERA, got the start for the North Division team and pitched a scoreless inning while, Mountlake Terrace native Aaron Brooks tossed a scoreless third of an inning in relief.
The AquaSox are off Wednesday before resuming play on the road at 6:35 PM Thursday, August 8th at Salem-Keizer. Tom Burns (0-0, 7.88) will go for Everett against the Volcanoes' Chase Johnson (2-1, 1.23). The AquaSox return home August 16th for an eight-game homestand against the Eugene Emeralds and Vancouver Canadians. AquaSox 2013 season and individual game tickets are available now online at www.aquasox.com and by phone at 425-258-3673.