On way out, Karaviotis leads North to win

Double-A-bound outfielder shines in Cal League All-Star Game

Mark Karaviotis ranks fifth in the league with a .386 on-base percentage and sixth with a .286 batting average. (Jerry Espinoza/MiLB.com)

By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com | June 19, 2019 2:07 AM

SAN BERNARDINO, California -- A midseason classic, it was -- a good, tight ballgame into the late innings -- but the California League All-Star Game defied "classic" expectations of the homer-happy circuit.

The North Division, led by All-Star MVP Mark Karaviotis of Visalia and commanding pitching performances, scratched across four runs over the final three innings to beat the South, 7-1, on Tuesday at San Manuel Stadium. Karaviotis was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a pair of runs scored.

Video: Visalia's Karaviotis singles home a run

"It's an honor. It's my first All-Star recognition as a professional," he said, "and I've got about 10 or 11 family members who flew out from Hawaii last night to be here tonight, so just to be able to have a good game, a successful game in front of them -- my friends, family, loved ones -- it's an awesome night."

The D-backs outfielder helped the Rawhide become the first Minor League team to clinch a playoff berth on June 6, as they locked up the North Division first-half title with a 44-22 start. But Karaviotis, who's played parts of the last two seasons with Visalia, came into the All-Star break with more good news in his back pocket.

"I'm going to Double-A [Jackson] tomorrow," he said. "My flight's at 7 a.m." 

The soon-to-be Southern Leaguer drove in the game's first run, plating second-ranked Giants prospect Heliot Ramos with a second-inning single up the middle.

"It's amazing," said Modesto skipper Jose Umbria, who managed the North. "[The D-backs] let him play. I guess he was supposed to leave two days ago, and they called last night and said they'd let him play. And then that's why we win."


Gameday box score


Jameson Hannah scored Karaviotis and Stockton teammate Lazaro Armenteros with a two-out triple to left. The No. 7 A's prospect coasted into third standing up. 

"Speed's one of my tools and I was happy to hit the ball pretty hard down to right field," Hannah said. "If they don't make the play on me, then I'm going to take those extra bases. I was happy that ball got down and I was able to use one of my tools."

Karaviotis, who entered the break a .286/.386/.379 slash line, singled up the middle again in the seventh and pulled another RBI knock into left in the eighth. The 2016 19th-round Draft pick had six-three hit games in the first half, but to him, this was not just another night.

"No, definitely not. I've got 10 of my family members here from a long way away that don't get to watch me play much," he said. "[The Rawhide have] an awesome hitting coach in Travis Denker, who I've been working with the last two seasons, and it's awesome to see it paying off a little bit here. ... I got to share this experience with eight of my teammates, so it's awesome. ... Clinching the first half just a couple weeks ago, it's been a fun few weeks, no doubt."

Armenteros, the A's fourth-ranked prospect, reached three times -- singling, walking and getting aboard on an error -- and scored a run. Hannah walked and produced a third RBI with an eighth-inning groundout.

The North used one pitcher for each inning, holding the South to six hits, with no one getting more than one.

It's pretty sweet," said Nuts right-hander Ljay Newsome, who fanned two in the opening inning and got the win for the North after going 5-4 with a 3.51 ERA in the first half. "Just kind of how like the season went. Keep it the same, just go out, same philosophy, just throw strikes and get punchouts. Mind-set was the same, just kept doing my thing, hit my spots, throw inside, outside up, just get punchouts. ... Start the game off and have those guys come in and follow, it was awesome."

Umbria was impressed with the pitchers at his disposal.

"The pitching staff, they did a great job, especially the relievers, everybody, but the relievers, they came lights-out," he said.

Padres No. 24 prospect Esteury Ruiz provided the South's offense with a leadoff homer in the sixth.

Rancho Cucamonga's Logan Salow was the lone pitcher on either team to strike out the side, which he did in a perfect sixth for the South.

"It was really fun and a great opportunity to go out there and show 'em what you've got," the Dodgers right-hander said. "I felt really confident about my stuff. You kind of want to do your part and put up your zero."

The hometown South won Home Run Derby, which paired six All-Stars with local youth players [whose fence was beyond the infield dirt] in a team format. Representing the North were Modesto's Cal Raleigh (five in the three-minute first round, Visalia's Camden Duzenack (six in round 1, five in the final round) and Armenteros (seven). Lancaster's Casey Golden (seven in Round 1, seven in the final round), Rancho Cucamonga's Connor Wong (two) and Lancaster's Luis Castro (zero) represented the South.

Duzenack and partner Xavier Salgado of the Canyon Springs Little League edged Armenteros and partner Brendyn Lowery in a tiebreaker, setting up a final against Golden and partner Charly Quezada of the Newmark Little League. In the three-minute finale, Salgado hit six, Duzenack five. Quezada belted five and Golden came through with his seventh with a minute left on the clock.

2019 MiLB include

"I kind of got in a rhythm early and once I realized I had a decent amount of time to hit one or two I tried to slow it down and relax, not really trying to go hit -- just hit it good," said Golden, the Rockies' No. 30 prospect. "[Quezada] helped me out a lot. The kid in the North Division put on a show, and I was like, 'You know what? Don't even worry about hitting home runs, just go have fun.' Next thing you know, he hit five. I was like, 'That helps out a lot. Let me go do my part now.'"

Quezada had a similar strategy, noting, "I kind of saved my stamina for the last minute. I drank a lot of water after the first round."

The pregame festivities also included Cal League Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for Adrian Beltre, single-season home run king Bud Heslet, former league president Joe Gagliardi (1981-2009) and Rollie Fingers. Heslet's son, Joe, Gagliardi and Fingers were on the field to accept plaques from president Charlie Blaney.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. 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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