Power defeats Shorebirds, places six on All-Star team
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Stetson Allie said he'd never heard his dad cry. But when he called home to tell his family he'll start at first base for the Northern Division in the South Atlantic League's All-Star Game, that might have changed.
"It was almost like he was in tears," Allie said. "My mom was just screaming and telling everybody in the house. It was an awesome experience. I've never been more excited in my life."
Allie has plenty of teammates with which he can share that excitement. Six Power players were picked for that June 18 game in Lakewood, N.J. Three will start - Allie, right fielder Josh Bell and second baseman Dilson Herrera - while pitchers Tyler Glasnow and Orlando Castro and outfielder Walker Gourley made the team as reserves.
The Power celebrated by opening its six-game homestand with a 7-5 win Tuesday over the Delmarva Shorebirds at Appalachian Power Park, its fourth win in five games.
West Virginia's half-dozen All-Star selections doubles the number of players the Power sent to the game last season, when second baseman Alen Hanson, right fielder Gregory Polanco and pitcher Matt Benedict represented the team.
That jump in All-Star picks is showing in the Power's record. After beating the Shorebirds on Tuesday, West Virginia is 32-26. The Power won just 23 games in the entire first half last season.
"We play as a team," Glasnow said. "We don't have any selfish players on this team. In crucial times - hit-and-runs, bunts and everything - no one's mad about it or anything. Everyone just gets the job done. We just have really talented players and the chemistry is really good."
It was working Tuesday, as the Power tagged Delmarva with four runs in the third. Down 1-0, West Virginia scored its first two run when the Shorebirds couldn't turn a double play, throwing away the toss to first on a Junior Sosa grounder, and Kawika Emsley-Pai and Ashley Ponce scored. Then Bell belted his eighth homer of the season over the right field fence for two more runs.
Bell entered Tuesday's game batting .272 and ranked third in the SAL with 43 RBI. Allie entered the game batting .340 and his 16 home runs this season was tied for the most in the minor leagues. He also led the SAL with 54 RBI.
That's pretty good for a former pitcher who's in his first full professional season as an everyday player. Allie said there's extra satisfaction in knowing he's been able to make the transition so quickly and effectively.
"I put all that work in and I expected it and I executed it," Allie said. "It just shows me that if I do put the work in and do have the right mindset and never give up, the sky's the limit for me. It was an eye-opener for me that, hey, I can do this."
Herrera, who will start as shortstop for Northern Division, was batting .294 with five home runs and 27 RBI entering Tuesday. Castro is 6-3 this season with a 2.04 ERA. The left-hander has struck out 54 batters while walking a team-low five. Glasnow is 3-1 with an ERA of 3.21 and 72 strikeouts. Gourley is batting .325 with West Virginia.
The Power added three runs in the fourth on an RBI double from Raul Fortunato and fielder's choice RBI from Ponce and Sosa.
The Shorebirds (24-32) scored three runs over the final two innings to make things interesting, but couldn't get any closer. John Kuchno got his third win of the season, scattering seven hits and two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings, striking out four.
The two teams meet again tonight at 7:05 with Joely Rodriguez (4-3, 2.85 ERA) scheduled to start for the Power and Juan Guzman (3-0, 5.13) for the Shorebirds.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at email@example.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.