ABCCL fourth annual all-star game a thriller

FARRAH MAFFAI staff Monroe’s Rich Canuso, who attends Rutgers University, takes a healthy cut at a pitch during the ABCCL All-Star Game at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood on July 27.FARRAH MAFFAI staff Monroe’s Rich Canuso, who attends Rutgers University, takes a healthy cut at a pitch during the ABCCL All-Star Game at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood on July 27.

The Atlantic Baseball Confederation Collegiate League’s (ABCCL) fourth annual all-star game was held July 27 at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood.

The league’s eight teams sent their top players, who competed against each other as the Yogi Berra and Larry Doby squads. The Doby squad won a closely fought 8-7 victory.

The game started with the ABCCL’s commissioner, retired Seton Hall coach Mike Sheppard, throwing out the first ball with more than 500 fans in attendance. Before the game, early birds were treated to a pro scout workout held for the 60 all-stars, which was organized by the head of Major League Baseball’s scouting, Don Kohler. About 12 scouts were present, and they expressed interest in several of the players. Follow-up visits by the scouts occurred during the ABCCL playoffs held July 29 through Aug. 1.

The Berra squad wasted no time in jumping to an early lead against Doby starter Mike Chiciak (Cherry Hill/University of Delaware). Bayville’s Mike Rooth (Felician College) and Manchester’s Travis Musolf (Marist College) led off with base hits and were followed by three consecutive walks to Marlboro’s Chris Contrino (Brown University), Holmdel’s Mike Pahira (Pace University), and Manchester’s Bill Ryan (Caldwell College). Point Pleasant Beach’s Chris Wilson (The College of New Jersey) then came through with one of the big hits of the game with a double to deep center field, which gave the Berra squad a 5-0 lead.

Toms River South’s Steve Holt (Rutgers) started for the Berra squad and retired the Doby squad in order, including his college catcher Colin Gaynor (Toms River/Rutgers). Holt was followed by Manalapan’s Justin Cocliff (Rider), who also kept the Doby squad hitless as the Berra squad held onto its 5-0 lead.

The Doby squad struck back off hard-throwing Mike Weckenman of Newtown, Pa., (Temple University), with the aid of poor fielding to score two unearned runs, with a key hit coming from Marlton’s Mike Scanzano (University of Pittsburgh), which took advantage of the fielding lapses. Bayonne’s Bill Opel (The College of New Jersey) kept the Doby squad in check to hold the 5-2 lead, but the Doby squad chipped away at Elizabeth’s Tim Cowan (William Paterson Univer-sity) with some unearned runs, and Oldwick’s Matt Kamine (Lafayette College) to jump to an 8-5 lead. The big blow was a two-run homer that wrapped around the foul pole by West Orange’s Lee Rubin (Mary Washington College, Virginia), driving in Marlton’s Ed McDonnel (University of Delaware), who was 2-for-2 for the Doby team.

The game settled into a pitchers’ duel, with shutout innings thrown by the Doby pitchers, including Great Meadow’s Cole Kimball (St. John’s University); Chris Reddout of Pittsburgh, Kan., (Pittsburgh State, Kansas); Floral Park’s James Lally (St. John’s University); Marlton’s Dane Mason (Oklahoma State University); Ryan Keefe of Essex, Vt., (Quinnipiac University, Conn.); Drew Atchison of Charlottesville, Va., (College of William & Mary); and Justin DeVincenzo of Plains, Pa., (University of Sciences in Philadelphia).

The Berra hitters were dominated by the Doby pitchers and could only muster a single base hit by Holmdel’s Chris Kapsales (Brookdale) over the next seven innings after their first-inning outburst.

The Berra squad pitchers matched the Doby squad to keep it an 8-5 game going into the last two innings. Shutout innings were thrown by several Berra squad pitchers, including Edison’s Brian Cirri (University of Pennsylvania), Holmdel’s Chris Kapsales (Brookdale), Toms River South’s Anthony DeRogatis (Caldwell College), and Dallas Sims of Floyds Knobs, Ind., (Lincoln Trail College, Illinois).

The Berra squad chipped away at the lead the last two innings with three walks and a double-play ball against Justin Green of Salem, Ill., (Olney Central College, Illinois) to make it an 8-6 game going into the last inning. Berra hitters finally came alive against Nick Chanock of Potomac, Md., (Haverford College, Pennsylvania), as Dumont’s Sean Abate (University of Pennsyl-vania) and Somerville’s Tom Ciccarone (Marist College) had base hits and combined with a fielding error, and the Berra squad cut the lead to 8-7. With the tying run on third base, Chanock faced Elizabeth’s Jonathan Torres (Bloomfield College), who hit a ground ball to deep short that was fielded by Union’s Perry Schatzow (Kean University). Schatzow made a great play by throwing out the speedy Torres, who dove headfirst to try to beat the throw but was out by a step, and the Doby squad held their 8-7 lead for the victory.

D-BAT partially sponsored the game with all-star shirts, batting gloves, and MVP bats. The MVPs were voted on by the pro scouts in attendance and were awarded to Point Pleasant Beach’s Chris Wilson (The College of New Jersey) and West Orange’s Lee Rubin (Mary Washington College, Virginia), who both received an engraved D-BAT as the MVP trophy.