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Amaya delivers key hit in All-Star comeback

Cubs infield prospect caps North's four-run ninth with two-run double
June 14, 2014

BRADENTON, Fla. -- It took the North Division offense most of the night to get going, but when it was rolling, there was little the South could do to slow it down in the Florida State League All-Star Game.

The North scored four runs -- all off Pirates prospect Bryton Trepagnier -- in the top of the ninth inning and rallied for a 6-4 win over the South in front of a crowd of 5,882 at McKechnie Field.

The ninth inning was a forgettable one for the South. With runners at the corners and one out, Tigers prospect Austin Green roped a single to left field to get the North within 4-3. Cubs shortstop Marco Hernandez didn't waste any time, tying it with a single.

Fellow Daytona infielder Gioskar Amaya delivered his only hit of the game, but it proved to be a game-changer. On an 0-1 count, he drove a ball into right field for a double, plating the go-ahead runs.

"I just tried to hit the ball the opposite way," Amaya said. "The ball came to me and I was just happy to help the team. He was throwing a lot of two-seam [fastballs] and I was just hoping he would throw a pitch inside because I'm good at those pitches. But then on the first pitch away I just went down and that was it."

Amaya said the North wasn't expecting the late comeback but knew it was possible after getting a couple baserunners aboard.

"We could feel it when the first couple guys didn't get out," Amaya said. "We knew we could come back in the game, and then we did."

Amaya also said he felt the momentum was swinging the North's way before Hernandez entered the batter's box.

"I just said, 'We're going to do it.'"

The comeback spoiled a strong night from Adam Brett Walker, the Twins' 13th-ranked prospect. After winning Home Run Derby earlier in the night, the FSL's home run leader took a 3-1 changeup from Tampa's Daniel Camarena and deposited it onto the railing of the outfield boardwalk. The blast, which gave the South a 3-2 lead, was one of three hits for Walker.

"It might have been ball four, but I saw it well and wanted to be aggressive," Walker said. "I barreled it up and got out. I hit it and I thought I might have got it good enough, but when I got out of the box I just was hoping it would get out."

Walker appreciated the honor of being named All-Star MVP, knowing those who played in the game in the past.

"It's crazy to look back and see some of the names that you'll see, and to know that I was selected as MVP of the game, it's just an honor," he said. "But now I have to keep working."

The North nearly struck in the first against the game's top-rated pitching prospect, Jose Berrios. The Fort Myers Miracle right-hander -- ranked No. 76 overall by -- issued a walk before notching a pair of strikeouts. A sharp single by Dunedin's K.C. Hobson put runners on the corners, but Tampa's Dante Bichette Jr. hit a soft grounder to Palm Beach third baseman Breyvic Valera.

An inning later, the North threatened again with the bases loaded and one out after Hernandez legged out an infield single. Again, the South benefited from stellar defense from Valera, who stepped on third and threw to first for an inning-ending double play.

Dunedin's Dalton Pompey finally helped the North get on the board in the third when he hit a one-out triple to the right-field gap. Hobson followed with a sharp ground ball to first for an RBI.

The lead didn't last long, however. In the bottom of the inning, Palm Beach's Charlie Tilson hit a leadoff single and took second on a groundout by Dunedin's Dwight Smith Jr. Valera showed what he could do with his bat, roping a single to left field that brought in Tilson. After taking second on the throw and stealing third, Valera scored on a base hit by St. Lucie's T.J. Rivera to make it 2-1.

Tampa's Zach Wilson took things into his own hands, clearing the left-field fence on an 0-2 pitch from Jupiter's Reid Redman. The homer tied the score at 2-2.

The South answered with two runs in the sixth, but the North turned things around in the ninth.

Josh Bell, the Pirates' No. 6 prospect, went 0-for-3 with a walk for the South in front of his home crowd.

Brandon Nimmo, the Mets' fourth-ranked prospect, went 1-fo-4, while Tigers' No. 3 prospect Jake Thompson, pitched a scoreless second inning for the North, allowing two hits while striking out three.

Greg Zeck is a contributor to