By TIM GAYLE
The 12th annual Montgomery Metro Baseball League all-star game and home run derby will be held on Saturday afternoon at Paterson Field, featuring the league’s best players from the Braves, Astros, Diamondbacks and Rockies in the National League and the Expos, Tigers, Blue Jays and Red Sox in the American League.
“This year, it can come down to hitting or pitching,” said MMBL founder and president Charlie Dees. “Last year, it was pitching.
“We’ve got 144 kids playing this year. Eighty-five percent of them are college guys, then 5 percent guys are high school players. The other 10 percent are ex-minor leaguers or guys that are through playing college. It’s been very competitive.”
The all-star teams will be divided between the National and American leagues and will play one nine-inning game beginning at 3 p.m. The home run derby will follow at approximately 5:30 p.m.
Admission is $5 for adults with children 10 and under admitted free.
Among those competing in the all-star game will be 2017 MMBL high school player of the year Camden Lovrich, a senior at Trinity Presbyterian who will be playing in the Alabama All-Stars Sports Week baseball game three days after the MMBL all-star game.
Joining Lovrich will be Expos’ teammate Matt Goosman, a catcher from Chipola Community College who will be attending Faulkner; Tigers’ first baseman Sam Plash, the former UMS-Wright slugger who is a center on the Ole Miss football team; Capital City Conference Player of the Year Tyler Robertson, a Blue Jays player who will be attending Shelton State Community College this fall; Robertson’s former St. James teammate Teddy Bridges, a Red Sox outfielder who is at Alabama Southern Community College; MMBL MVP Ko Powell of the Astros, who plays at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College; Lawson State’s Jackson Tate, a Braves player who played at Edgewood Academy and Park Crossing; Delta State pitcher Austin Wines, also of the Braves; Diamondbacks’ Grayson Blackwell, a former Southern Union player who will be at AUM this fall; Diamondbacks’ teammate T.J. Thomas of Lawson State; Blue Jays pitcher Landon Pritchett, the former Catholic star who will be at Lurleen Wallace this fall; and LaGrange College’s Rhett Hollon of the Astros.
AUM’s Sam Judah will return to defend his title in the home run derby after edging out Goosman last year. In addition to Judah and Goosman, others expected to compete include Dees, Mike Mendoza, former LAMP star and Auburn walk-on Winston Morgan, Plash, Montevallo’s Jared Nixon, Tate and Wallace State-Hanceville catcher Brady Sherrill.
The 10 participants in the home run derby will have 10 outs, with the top five advancing to a semifinal round featuring 10 outs. The top two finalists will compete in a timed event.
The MMBL playoffs will follow with a double-elimination tournament on July 28-29 at Paterson, with the champions facing off on Aug. 4 at Paterson. The playoff bracket will be posted on the league’s Web site at www.mmbl.biz.