NYPL All-Star Gonzalez doubles up

Spikes catcher's clutch hit earns him 'Top Star of Game' honors

Spinners president Tim Bawmann awards Top Star Samuel Gonzalez. (Kevin Littlefield/MiLB.com)

By Brian Moynahan / Special to MLB.com | August 16, 2011 7:20 PM

LOWELL, Mass. -- First, it looked like the New York-Penn League All-Star Game would be a blowout. Then, the American League All-Stars made a contest of it. Finally, the National Leaguers put it away.

State College's Samuel Gonzalez (Pirates) smacked a two-run double in the second inning and picked up Top Star of the Game honors as the NL emerged victorious, 7-3, on Tuesday at Edward A. LeLacheur Park.

"I was looking for [a fastball on] the first pitch, and the pitcher [Brennan Smith (Tigers)] -- no, nothing," he said. "Second pitch, no. Early, I stayed on the first-pitch fastball. Good contact, on the middle [of the bat]."

The game ultimately came down to a matchup between representatives from two of New York's five boroughs. With two men on and two outs in the top of the ninth inning and the National League clinging to a 4-3 lead, Brooklyn's Daniel Muno stepped in against Branden Pinder of Staten Island (Yankees).

Muno, the Mets' eighth-round selection in June's Draft, lined a ball to left field. Ben Gamel of Staten Island misplayed it, allowing Charles Thurber and Kyrell Hudson to score.

"Lost it in the lights," Gamel said after the game. "Everyone was misjudging balls. It was just tough to see the ball. I saw it off the bat, but just lost it."

Gamel's Staten Island teammate Mason Williams also appeared to lose a ball in the lights earlier in the game, starting in before quickly backtracking to make a leaping grap.

The next batter, Auburn's Hendry Jimenez (Nationals), singled in Muno before Pinder struck out David Medina (Cardinals) to end the inning.

Brooklyn's T.J. Chism and Todd Weldon combined to strike out the side in the ninth to seal the win. Weldon knew before the game that he would be called upon at the end.

"The pitching coach [Gary Ruby] threw all the numbers in a hat, and we drew out numbers for positioning and where we were going to pitch," Weldon said. "Except for starters -- starters got to go first and then relievers, so that's just kind of how it worked out."

The win closed the National League's gap in the all-time series to 4-3. It was the first win for the NL since 2008's 4-3 victory in Troy, N.Y., and the first time in seven midsummer classics on the circuit that at least one team failed to score exactly four runs.

The NL looked to have the game well in hand early on, scoring four runs on four straight hits to open the second against Smith (Tigers).

Wes Freeman of the Spikes led off with a double, advanced to third on a single by Tri-City's Matt Duffy (Astros) and scored on a single by the Doubledays' Matt Skole.

That brought Gonzalez to the plate. The right-handed hitting catcher doubled into the gap in right-center field. Gonzalez later scored on a sacrifice fly by the ValleyCats' Justin Gominsky to center field.

The AL All-Stars chipped away at the deficit, scoring twice in the third to halve the lead. With one out, Mahoning Valley's Bryson Myles (Indians) singled and scored second and Vermont's Chih Fang Pan (A's) tripled to right-center. Williams lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Pan.

The lead was cut further in the sixth. Jamestown's Jeff Malm (Rays), the league's home run leader with 12, doubled to right with one out and scored on a single to left by Tigers' Dean Green.

Jimenez and the Scrappers' Jordan Smith collected two hits apiece. Seven different pitchers struck out at least two batters, including starters Kyle Hallock of the ValleyCats and the Renegades' Parker Markel. Each side struck out 11 batters.

Hallock was the winning pitcher and Smith took the loss in front of 5,030 fans.

Brian Moynahan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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