LANCASTER, PA. - Caleb Gindl put on a show with both his arm and his bat Wednesday night.
The Lancaster Barnstormers' outfielder took charge of the 2016 Atlantic League All-Star Game at Clipper Magazine Stadium with a home run and an outfield assist, leading the Freedom Division to a 3-1 victory over the Liberty Division.
Heavy rains pounded the Lancaster area most of the afternoon and into the early evening hours, forcing the cancellation of the Home Run Derby and delaying the start of the game for 85 minutes.
It started slowly with the Liberty squad scoring an unearned run in the top of the first on a two –out walk to New Britain’s Jovan Rosa, an infield single dribbled to the third base side of the mound by Somerset’s Bryan LaHair and a double error by Lancaster shortstop Kevin Ahrens on a Jose Cuevas (Bridgeport) ground ball.
Liberty pitching retired the first 10 batters it faced before Gindl rode a 1-2 offering from Bridgeport’s Jimmy Patterson well over the picnic tents in right field for a tying home run.
That tie was broken in the home half of the fifth inning. Lancaster’s Sean Halton banged a single up the middle with one out against Long Island lefty Patrick Crider. York’s Andres Perez also singled to center, and, with two outs, Lancaster catcher Charlie Cutler followed suit with another single to center, plating Halton for a 2-1 lead. Crider then uncorked a wild pitch on ball four to York’s Travis Witherspoon, enabling the third Freedom Division run to score.
Sugar Land’s Andrew Johnston needed two great defensive plays in the top of the sixth to protect the Freedom’s lead. Rosa drew his second walk of the evening. LaHair followed with a line drive toward the middle, but Perez made a diving grab to his right. New Britain’s Jonathan Roof grounded slowly up the first base line for the second out, but the Bees’ Craig Maddox singled into center. Gindl, who had just moved over from right, cut loose a perfect throw toward home plate, and Travis Scott laid the tag on Rosa, who slid behind the plate and could not get his hand to swipe across.
The Liberty side managed two more hits and one walk over the rest of the game but got only one man as far as second base.
Ricardo Gomez of York pitched a scoreless fifth inning to earn the win while Crider took the loss. York closer Mike DeMark earned the save, walking one and striking out one in the ninth inning.
Gindl was a near unanimous choice as the game’s Most Valuable Player. He and LaHair were the only players with more than one hit in the game.