BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset Patriots celebrated the team's 20th anniversary yesterday by hosting the Atlantic League's 20th All-Star Game, with The Freedom Division All-Stars parlaying 17 hits into a 10-3 victory over the Liberty Division All-Stars in front of a crowd of 8,175 fans at TD Bank Ballpark.
The game was preceded by a Home Run Derby won by Southern Maryland Blue Crab outfielder Zach Wilson, who was also named the game's Most Valuable Player.
The gates opened early to allow fans to watch batting practice and to spend time with the players while getting their autographs on the ballpark's warning track.
The Patriots paid tribute to their former manager Sparky Lyle, now manager emeritus, and Willie Randolph, Lyle's former teammate on the 1977 World Championship New York Yankees. Lyle went on to manage the Patriots for 15 years, while Randolph was a Yankees coach for 11 years before he was hired as manager of the New York Mets in 2005.
Lyle and Randolph served as honorary managers of the Freedom Division and Liberty Division, introduced by Yankees broadcaster John Sterling.
Jovan Rosa (New Britain Bees) opened up the scoring in the bottom of the first inning on a two-run home run to left field to put the Liberty Division up 2-0, but the Freedom Division quickly responded. Back-to-back solo home runs from Sean Halton (Lancaster Barnstormers) and Kevin Ahrens (Sugar Land Skeeters) tied up the game in the second.
The Freedom Division All-Stars took the control of the game with a four-run third inning, highlighted by Wilson's three-run home run and a Cory Vaughn (Blue Crabs) RBI single.
Isaias Tejeda (York Revolution) added to the Freedom Division lead with an RBI double in the fourth before Angelo Songco (Long Island Ducks) responded with a solo home run in the bottom of the inning.
A pair of runs in the sixth inning and another in the eighth for the Freedom Division topped off the scoring in the ballgame.
Brian Grening (Blue Crabs) earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief. John Brownell (Ducks) took the loss after he allowed four runs on five hits in one inning.
The roster of the Liberty Division included eight members of the Somerset Patriots: Duane Below, David Kubiak, Rick Teasley, Yovan Gonzalez,Tyler Bortnick, Carlos Guzman, Aharon Eggleston and John Pacchioli.
Patriots manager Brett Jodie managed the Liberty Division All-Stars. He was assisted by Patriots coaches Glen Barker, Cory Domel, Fox Beyer and John Hunton.