Nats' Stevenson paces Carolina League win

Tribe's Allen, Bradley, Merryweather also deliver in All-Star Game

Andrew Stevenson shares the Carolina League lead with seven triples and ranks third with 76 hits. (Ken Inness/

By Josh Jackson / | June 22, 2016 2:39 AM

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. -- The California League hosted a spectacle at its annual All-Star showdown with the Carolina League on Tuesday. But thanks largely to a Nationals prospect and several Indians prospects, the visitors stole the show.

Eighth-ranked Nationals prospect Andrew Stevenson claimed MVP honors by going 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI triples and two runs scored as the Carolina League held on for a 6-4 victory over the Cal League before a crowd of 4,535 at The Diamond.

"It was a cool experience. I've never been to California, so it was cool to see other guys from across the country," Stevenson said. "Today was about having fun, playing with guys you don't get to normally play with, so I was just relaxed in the box. The results, in the end, they don't really matter, but they also kind of do -- they're something you can look at. I was just trying to have fun."

Greg Allen, the Indians' 22nd-ranked prospect, played the catalyst all night with three runs scored, while Lynchburg Hillcats teammate and third-ranked Indians prospect Bobby Bradley homered. Another Hillcat, Julian Merryweather, started for the visitors and turned in a 1-2-3 opening frame, striking out the first batter he saw.

"That's what it's all about, going out there and enjoy the game," said Merryweather, a 24-year-old right-hander. "It's a great honor to be out there, so it was nice to get a good outing."

• View photos from the Carolina/California League All-Star Game »

Allen, a San Diego native, was a spark plug for the Carolina League from the outset. The speedy outfielder opened the game with a walk, stole swiped second base on the next pitch and stole third on the following one. Mauricio Dubon knocked him in with a sacrifice fly for the first of two RBIs for the 12th-ranked Red Sox prospect.

"You just try to be aggressive," Allen said. "You try to take the opportunity when it's presented to you. Luckily, [Padres prospect Chris Huffman] wasn't exceptionally quick to the plate, which gave me a chance to try to steal some bags, and I was fortunate enough to have it work out.

"Obviously, when you come into a game like this, some playing time can be limited, so you're not always sure the impact you're going to be able to make. ... Just to be able to contribute was huge."

Allen reached on a one-out infield single in the fifth and a fielder's choice in the seventh, scoring both times on triples by Stevenson.

"I was expecting a fastball. [Giants prospect Reyes Moronta] threw one elevated and I was able to put a pretty good swing on it," Stevenson said of the first triple, which the left-handed hitter sent to left-center.

Two innings later, he slugged a pitch from D-backs prospect Bud Jeter to center.

"Once you kind of get going," Stevenson said, "you're thinking three if the ball's in the gap."

Bradley, who leads the Carolina League with 15 homers, started the fourth by belting a long blast to right-center field off No. 16 Rockies prospect Ryan Castellani.

"Oh, my gosh, that might be the best one all year, to be honest," Merryweather said.

Bradley wasn't sure.

"That very well could be the case," he said. "I don't really know how far it went or how far my other ones went, but that could very well be the case."

Two more Lynchburg players -- Indians No. 5 prospect Justus Sheffield and catcher prospect Daniel Salters -- shut down the California League in the sixth. Stockton's James Harris led off the inning with a single, but Salters threw him out trying to steal second. When Lancaster's Bobby Boyd tried to steal after walking, Salters nailed him, too. Sheffield got Angels prospect Tim Arakawa to fly to center field to end the frame.

The Cal League scored three in the ninth and brought the potential winning run to the plate, with three Giants fueling the rally. Arakawa singled to right off Braves prospect Evan Phillips and C.J. Hinojosa and fifth-ranked San Francisco prospect Chris Shaw followed with back-to-back RBI doubles.

"That was awesome," Arakawa said. "I'm glad I got to get on base for them, and then C.J. smashed that double in the gap and started a little rally, got us going again. It made the game fun. The whole thing was good fun, but that last inning, we were really getting back into it."

Lancaster's Garrett Stubbs added an RBI double with two outs, but Myrtle Beach's Trevor Clifton ended the game by getting Harris to fly to Allen in center field.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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