By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — The first annual Northwest League All-Star Game was three outs away from near perfection for the host Everett AquaSox.
However, the South Division decided to spoil the party.
The South scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning for an 8-7 come-from-behind victory over the North Division on Tuesday night before a packed crowd of 3,818 at Everett Memorial Stadium.
The North, featuring seven AquaSox players, was ahead the entire game and led 7-5 going into the ninth with Everett relief pitcher Jose Valdivia brought in to close it out.
But the South rallied against Valdivia, with Hunter Renfroe of the Eugene Emeralds delivering what proved to be the game-winning hit.
“It was a great game, hard-fought all around,” said the South’s and Salem-Keizer’s Sam Eberle, who was named the game’s MVP after going 2-for-4 with a home run and three runs scored. “The North played well. Offensively and pitching wise, it was a great experience.”
Salem-Keizer’s Raymundo Montero picked up the win by pitching a perfect eighth inning.
Vancouver’s L.B. Dantzler led the North offensively, going 2-for-4 with a home run and three runs batted in. Vancouver teammate Justin Atkinson also homered for the North.
Valdivia ended up taking the loss, allowing three runs — one earned — in his one inning. Among Everett’s other six players:
w Pitcher Lars Huijer started the game and tossed one scoreless inning, allowing one hit and walking one.
w Local athlete Aaron Brooks, a Mountlake Terrace High School graduate, relieved in the seventh and got the only batter he faced to pop out.
w Shortstop Jack Reinheimer played the entire game and went 2-for-5 with a run scored.
w Justin Seager, who served as the designated hitter, went 1-for-3 with a run scored and was also hit by a pitch.
w Catcher Carlton Tanabe and third baseman Bryan Brito both came into the game in the sixth. Brito went 0-for-2, Tanabe 0-for-1.
In addition to Brooks, two locals from other teams also participated. Monroe High School graduate Ian Parmley, representing Vancouver for the North, finished 0-for-5. Meadowdale High School alum Chris Johnson, who plays for Salem-Keizer, pitched the second inning for the South, allowing two runs and striking out two.
Eberle began the South’s mischief in the top of the ninth when he led off the inning with a single up the middle. An error by Dantzler at first followed by a wild pitch put runners at second and third with nobody out. Hillsboro’s Yogey Perez-Ramos then lined an RBI single to right to cut the deficit to one, and Salem-Keizer’s Tyler Hollick ripped a sacrifice fly to right to tie it.
An out and a hit batter brought Renfroe to the plate with runners at the corners and two down. Renfroe, the San Diego Paders’ first-round pick in this year’s draft, then lined a single to left to give the South its first lead of the game.
The North then went meekly in the bottom of the ninth, being set down 1-2-3. Boise’s Tyler Bremer got the final out to earn the save.