Northwest continues All-Star dominance

Padres' Asuncion earns MVP honors in come-from-behind win

Luis Asuncion is presented with the BUSH's Beans MVP Award at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro, Oregon. (Jared Ravich/

By Jared Ravich / Special to | August 2, 2017 2:28 AM

HILLSBORO, Oregon -- Luis Asuncion's opposite-field double opened the gates for the Northwest League, which rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Pioneer League and remained unbeaten in the All-Star series on Tuesday at Ron Tonkin Field. The Padres outfield prospect took home the BUSH'S Beans MVP Award, while his Tri-City Dust Devils teammates Henry Henry and Jose Galindo got the win and save, respectively.

"Awesome, man," Asuncion said. "I'm pretty appreciative of the team and the opportunity to be here. I didn't expect to win an MVP, so I'm pretty happy and blessed.

"We played like a family here. We played with guys that we face all year. They're pretty cool guys."

Gameday box score

The Pioneer League grabbed the lead in the second inning against Dust Devils right-hander Emmanuel Ramirez, who hadn't allowed more than three runs in an appearance since his season debut. Ramirez got tagged with all four runs after retiring the first batter he faced. Idaho Falls' Robby Rinn slapped a ball to right field for a single and took third one out later on a liner to right by Grand Junction's Ryan Vilade, who moved up on a wild pitch.

Video: Pioneer League's Carroll singles in two

Helena's Dallas Carroll stroked a two-run single to left and scored on a base hit by Rockies infielder Shael Mendoza. Mendoza stole second and third, then scored on a base hit to center by Chukars outfielder Amalani Fukofuka. Vancouver's William Ouellette came in to put out the fire and fanned Ogden's Luis Paz to end the inning.

"We battled," Fukofuka said. "It was fun, a great experience, especially my second time around. Coming here, I didn't think it could top the last one [in Spokane in 2015], but it was actually even better. Just an amazing experience."

The Northwest League answered in the bottom of a confusing fifth. With Idaho Falls' Holden Capps pitching, Everett's Joseph Rosa drew a leadoff walk and scored on Asuncion's double. Hillsboro's Camden Duzenack followed with an RBI single under Capps' glove and Hops infielder Eudy Ramos singled, despite a diving snag by Vilade at shortstop. Capps got Eugene's Gustavo Polanco to hit into a double play, but another comebacker, this time off the bat of AquaSox catcher David Banuelos, plated Duzenack to get the Northwest within a run.

Jipping wins Home Run Derby

Then things took a strange turn. Billings' Moises Nova relieved Capps and walked Spokane's Tyler Ratliff, who was hitting for Home Run Derby winner Daniel Jipping. But Jipping batted next anyway, drawing a walk to load the bases. Nobody on the Pioneer League side protested, so the inning continued and Nova issued bases-loaded walks to Hillsboro's Daulton Varsho and Boise's Steven Linkous to put the Northwest ahead. Missoula's Abraham Almonte fanned Rosa on a close strike three call to end the inning. 

"We were going to take Ramos out," Northwest League manager Shawn Roof said. "I wanted to give him one more at-bat for the fans. We got a mixup, but we talked to [the Pioneer League] before the game and told them things were going to get a little goofy tonight. They were good with it."

Ultimately, Ratliff and Jipping stayed in the game and Ramos came out at third base.

"It was just a great night. It's good to see all these guys go out and have fun," Roof said. "We got everybody in the ballgame and came out on top. You always want to win when you do this, but I'm glad that nobody got hurt and they had a good time.

"[The Hops staff] put on a great event. The fans came out, it was a packed house. They do everything first-class here. They treated the players great and these guys are going to have a lot of great memories for a long time."

After the four-run second, Northwest League pitchers held the Pioneer League hitless until Great Falls' Anthony Villa doubled off Vancouver's Orlando Pascual in the seventh. Salem-Keizer's Stetson Woods, Vancouver's William Ouellette, Hillsboro's Riley Smith, Everett's Andres Torres, Tri-City's Henry Henry and Eugene's Jesus Camargo combined for 5 1/3 no-hit innings before Villa's double, which would have scored the tying run, had Varsho not just thrown out Missoula's Gabriel Maciel at second on a steal attempt. Woods benefited in the first from a sensational catch against the batter's eye in center by Malique Ziegler, who robbed Paz of an extra-base hit.

Video: The NWL's Ziegler makes a catch at the wall

"They did a great job," said Roof, who faces most of these pitchers as the Hops manager. "It's kind of nice to have those guys on our team. They went out there and they threw strikes. It was fun to see what they did."

Orem's Chris Rodriguez and Billings' Packy Naughton led the way for the Pioneer League with a perfect inning apiece.

MiLB include

The Northwest League survived a scare in the eighth, when Billings' Miles Gordon led off with a triple that eluded Linkous in center. But Eugene's Luis Aquino, after hitting Dominic Miroglio with a pitch, got Great Falls' Craig Dedelow to ground into an inning-ending double play.

The Pioneer League threatend again in the ninth, when Orem's Leonardo Rivas singled and Villa walked. But Galindo got Missoula's Keshawn Lynch to line out to first to seal the victory.

Asuncion was the first batter in the Home Run Derby that preceded the All-Star Game and hit just one. That didn't seem to matter when he was holding his MVP award.

"We come here just to have fun and things happen, but for sure, for me, this is better than Home Run Derby winner," he said. "I feel really happy for everything and just really enjoy this moment."

Jared Ravich is a senior software engineer for Major League Baseball Advanced Media. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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