EDENTON — The Edenton Steamers made the most of hosting the 2020 Tidewater Collegiate Summer Baseball League All-Star game.
The Steamers hosted the league’s mid-summer classic at Hicks Field on Sunday.
From Edenton’s Josiah Sightler (South Carolina) wearing a video camera on top of his batting helmet during at-bats, a player wearing a flamingo flotation device in the dugout to the home run derby, it was a memorable day of baseball.
The South All-Stars secured a 16-5 victory against the North All-Stars.
The South All-Stars team was comprised of players from the Edenton Steamers and the Tidewater Drillers.
The North All-Stars team was comprised of players from the Old Dominion Hitters and the Greenbrier Knights.
Edenton head coach Marshall McDonald served as the manager of the South All-Stars, while TSL commissioner Michael Dooley was the manager of the North All-Stars.
The North All-Stars took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning following Tidewater’s Jacob Mustain’s (Virginia Military Institute) RBI single that scored Tidewater teammate South Trimble (George Mason) from second base.
The South added a run in the bottom of the third on a Houston Wright (Tennessee at Martin) RBI ground out.
An RBI single by Edenton’s Shane Easter (Eastern Michigan) gave the South All-Stars a 4-0 advantage to begin the bottom of the fourth inning.
Dunaway added to his offensive output in the inning.
With runners in scoring position and two out, Dunaway hit a double off the left center field wall to score two runs to extend the South All-Stars lead to 5-0.
The South All-Stars added eight runs in the bottom of the fifth.
The South added a run on a bases-loaded walk to extend the South’s lead to 6-0.
A Mustain three RBI double extended the South lead to 9-0.
Tidewater’s Cade Brewer (Old Dominion University) had an RBI single in the inning.
Edenton’s Shane Easter (Eastern Michigan) added a two RBI double to make it a 12-0 lead for the South All-Stars.
A sacrifice fly by Tidewater’s Cameron Reckling (George Mason) extended the South lead to 13-0.
The North All-Stars got on the scoreboard in the seventh inning on a Ty Hanchey (Norfolk State) two RBI double to center field to cut the deficit to 13-2.
With the bases loaded in the top of the eighth inning, Old Dominion’s Zachary Morris (Virginia Military Institute) had a ground out to first base.
That allowed a run to score from third base to cut the deficit to 13-3.
After Bo Gonzales (Coastal Bend College) was walked to load the bases, Hanchey delivered a two-run single for the North All-Stars to trim the South lead to 13-5.
Brewer added a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning for the South All-Stars to extend the lead to 16-5.
Dunaway was named the TSL All-Star Game Most Valuable Player.
“It was awesome,” he said of participating in the all-star game.
Dunaway, a shortstop, went 5-for-5 in the game with two doubles, three singles and a walk.
“I was going out there just trying to have fun,” Dunaway said. “All the people here made it fun.”
Dunaway acknowledged the importance of having the opportunity to play baseball in the TSL this summer during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s baseball. With everything going on right now — very slim places that you can play — this was a great opportunity to play,” he said.
HOME RUN DERBY
The all-star festivities began with a home run derby.
Wright and Sightler represented the Steamers.
Alberto Osuna-Sanchez and JT Inskeep represented Old Dominion.
Greenbrier’s Ricky Sisto (St. Andrews) and Ty Hanchey represented the Knights.
Mustain and South Trimble (Geroge Mason) represented Tidewater.
Batters in the first two rounds had two minutes to hit a many home runs during each round to advance.
In the championship round, batters had three minutes to hit and were allowed one time out.
Wright was the No. 1 seed in the derby and defeated No. 8 seed Sisto 8-4 to advance.
Inskeep, the No. 4 seed, defeated Mustain, the No. 5 seed, 6-1.
No. 6 seed Trimble defeated No. 3 seed Sightler 9-4 to advance. Sanchez, the No. 2 seed defeated Hanchey 5-4 to advance.
In the second round, Inskeep hit 10 home runs to best Wright’s five home runs. Sanchez defeated Trimble with 11 home runs to Trimble’s eight homers to advance to the final.
In the final, Inskeep, from Virginia Military Institute, batted first and hit 11 home runs.
Sanchez hit 12 home runs to win the home run derby.
Sanchez, from Walters State Community College, hit a total of 28 home runs.
Inskeep finished with 27 home runs during the three rounds of competition.
“I knew that there was some really good competition in the field,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez noted that when he was asked to participate in the home run derby, he was all in.
He added that it was cool to compete against his Old Dominion Hitters teammate in the final.
Sanchez noted that he was talking to Inskeep in the batting cage and both wanted to make the final an all Hitters matchup.
“We’re really happy that we can represent our team,” Sanchez said. “We’re happy that we can put on a show for the fans.”
Both players brought out plenty of cheers from the players who lined the backstop and fans in stands.
With his mother in attendance, Sanchez noted that the competition will be a moment that he will never forget.
The day of baseball was a success for the TSL, the town of Edenton and the Edenton Steamers.
“They have done a wonderful job for us. We could not have asked for more,” Dooley said of the Steamers and the community. “The city, the entire community has supported the league. They took the all-star game and elevated it to an outstanding level. We’re very appreciative.”
Dooley acknowledged the players enjoyed their all-star game experience in Edenton.
Edenton Steamers general manager Tyler Russell said that the day of baseball at Hicks Field went well.
Russell noted because of the excessive heat, the crowd wasn’t at the amount that was expected.
He added that when the home run derby started at 4 p.m., the heat index on the field was over 100 degrees and it was a warm night for the game.
“It was a good turnout,” Russell said.
He added that fans had the opportunity to cheer on all the players that represented the four teams in the league.
For Russell, it was really good to hear the fans get behind all the players during the home run derby.
Edenton hosted its first all-star game since the 2001 Coastal Plain League All-Star game.
Prior to the 2020 season, Edenton was a member of the CPL for 22 seasons.
Due to restrictions related to COVID-19, Sunday’s all-star game was more scaled back than what the Steamers planned prior to the pandemic.
Russell acknowledged the Steamers are interested in hosting another all-star game at Hicks Field in the future.