By Spenser Smith / Trenton Thunder | July 11, 2018 10:49 PM
Following a game that ended after nine innings, tied at 4-4, a special-rules "swing-off" decided the winner of Wednesday night's Eastern League All-Star Classic in front of a crowd of 8,296, the ninth-largest crowd in the history of ARM & HAMMER Park.
A head-to-head hitting competition between Will Craig of the Altoona Curve and Zach Green of the Reading Fightin Phils saw Craig's point total of 305 exceed Green's 275, giving the Western Division the victory.
The Eastern Division had jumped out to an early lead in the game, getting a two-run homer in the second inning from Jan Hernandez (Reading) off Erie right-hander Beau Burrows. In the fourth, Deivi Grullon added to the East's lead with a solo home run to right-center, just 24 hours after his triumph in the Case's Pork Roll Home Run Derby on Tuesday night.
After having retired the first 13 West batters of the game, the East finally allowed its first baserunner on a walk issued by Reading right-hander Edgar Garcia with one out in the fifth. Four consecutive hits followed, including back-to-back RBI-singles by Connor Marabell (Akron) and Ke'Bryan Hayes (Altoona). Marabell later came around to score from third on a wild pitch by Daniel Zamora (Binghamton), tying the game at 3-3.
In the eighth inning, Luigi Rodriguez (Richmond) stepped to the plate and hit a go-ahead solo home run to left-center off reliever Caleb Frare (Trenton) to give the West its first lead of the game. The East, however, scrapped for a run in the bottom of the ninth, as Binghamton's Patrick Mazeika led off the with an infield single to put the tying run aboard, then scored on a two-out double to left field by Trey Amburgey (Trenton) off right-hander Derek Self (Harrisburg).
Eastern League regular-season play resumes Thursday, with all 12 teams scheduled to play.