South All-Stars shine on soggy night at Hammond Stadium
A fireworks display finished off the 2009 Florida State League All-Star Game on Saturday, though the skies around Hammond Stadium were lit up a few times during the game courtesy of lightning flashes.
It threatened, along with some consistent rain, but the celebration of baseball – and showcase event for some of the game’s up-and-coming players – continued on without delay.
The festivities began on Friday night with Fan Fest, which included live music, food and games, and concluded Saturday with the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game.
Chris Parmelee of the host Fort Myers Miracle emerged as the winner of the derby. He launched 13 total home runs in the three rounds and defeated St. Lucie’s Kirk Nieuwenhuis, 3-2, in the final round.
The South All-Stars, which consisted of seven Miracle players, fell in the All-Star Game, 6-4, to the North All-Stars.
Starlin Castro of the Daytona Cubs earned MVP honors, after finishing 4-for-4 at the plate and hitting an inside-the-park home run. It sparked the North’s six-run fourth-inning surge.
Parmelee, 21, leads the Miracle with eight home runs and 33 RBI. He was drafted in the first round by the Twins in 2006.
In the Home Run Derby on Saturday, he got off to a slow start with only two in the first round. He heated up with eight in the second round, sending the ball off of the trees and into the pond beyond right field.
“(At first) I was just trying to get into the second round,” he said. “I didn’t want to wear myself out.”
After Nieuwenhuis hit two in the final round, Parmelee smacked three, giving him the title in walk-off fashion.
There were no home runs over the fence in the All-Star Game, but the most significant play was Castro’s inside-the-park home run.
The Miracle’s Ben Revere started in on the ball in center, then tried to make a leaping catch. As soon as it got past Revere, Castro turned it on and made it clear he was not going to stop. A good relay throw by Charlotte’s Cody Cipriano was on time at the plate but Castro managed to avoid the tag.
The North scored five more runs in the same inning.
The South did all of its damage in the bottom of the fifth, plating four runs. Revere, who finished 2-for-5, contributed an RBI double.
The Miracle’s Chris Cates walked and scored on a wild pitch in that inning. Miracle right-hander David Bromberg started on the mound for the South and pitched one scoreless inning. Steve Hirschfeld and Spencer Steedley each threw one inning.
Parmelee had one single. Steve Singleton played in the game at second base but went 0-for-2 at the plate.