|DELCO LEAGUE VS. MILITARY ALL-STAR GAME: |
|Mills doesn't mind taking the loss in this game |
|Photo Caption: Former major leaguer Ben Davis and Wounded Warrior SSGT Ryan Hurtado, USMC at the DELCO League game on D-DAY. The U.S. Military All-Stars remain undefeated with an 8-6 victory. Next stop New Bedford Bay Sox on June 8th featuring NFL quaterback Doug Flutie and Bill "Spaceman" Lee. |
GLEN MILLS, PA (6 June 2012) - The U.S. Military All-Stars (12-0) jumped out to a 6-0 lead before surrendering 5 runs while using 4 new pitchers making their debut on the "Red, White & Blue Tour." Garrett Jenner was named the MVP and A1C Zach Staniewicz, USAF earned his first victory by slamming the door in the 6th inning to remain undefeated. Clayton Voechting earned the save outlasting the DELCO League All-Stars by the score of 8-6 to commemorate D-DAY. Staniewicz # 49 - played at Concordia College (Bronxville, NY), NCAA Div-2. Posted 2.66 ERA in 64 innings his senior season and was among the league leaders in the Southern Colleigate Baseball league in 2007 (1.85 ERA / 39 innings) leading to a Top 10 prospect selection by Baseball America. He made his professional debut in 2008 with the Hamilton Thunderbirds (2.78 ERA / 32 innings) before moving up to the New York State League. Next came the Alexandria Aces and the Rio Grande Valley White Wings. He has also trained with HOF pitcher Phil Niekro.
# 49 WILHELM - worn in honor of Hoyt Wilhelm who served in the U.S. Army during WWII, earning a Purple Heart at the Battle of the Bulge. As the first relief pitcher inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame despite a late start at the age of 28 due to military service. Hoyt had one of the first great knuckleballs allowing him to pitch into his late forties and pave the way for future specialists pitchers.
Officially, Glen Mills assistant baseball coach Ben Mills took the loss as the U.S. Military All-Stars topped the Delco League All-Stars, 8-6, at Everett Harrison Field Wednesday evening.
Mills, pitching for the first time in two years, yielded a solo homer to Andrew Wagner in the top of the fifth inning that snapped a 5-5 tie.
In reality, though, there were no losers on this night or any other time the U.S. Military All-Stars take the field.
"I think it's great," said Glen Mills coach Keith Minker, who also played for the Delco League. "It's a chance to come out here, play ball and honor the men and women serving in the military."
Minker and Mills had such a great time that they extended an invitation to have the Military All-Stars come back next year.
"This is the second year we've done it and we want to keep it going," Minker said. "It's just a great night."
That was the idea when the team was formed in 1990 at the request of President George H.W. Bush. Over the years, the team has gained a reputation as the "Globetrotters of Baseball," performing in 45 states and 12 countries.
This year's 75-game Red, White and Blue Tour, kicked off at Glen Mills on the 68th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.
"I can't think of a better place or a better day to start our season," said U.S. manager and Chester native Terry Allvord.
The entire tour is about honoring those who serve and have served. Each game begins with a passing of the flag ceremony, where the flag that flew over Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks is passed to a local hero and then passed back to Allvord.
Fred Mitchell, a 45-year Glen Mills resident and World War II veteran, received that honor before the game. Mitchell was a seaman, first class serving on the USS Drexler, a destroyer, when it was sunk off the coast of Okinawa following a series of kamikaze attacks in 1945. The ship went down in 49 seconds and took with it 158 members of its 357-man crew.
"It was six days after my 19th birthday," Mitchell said. "I probably was the last one off the ship. We were waiting for the emergency signal to abandon ship, but didn't realize that the guns were using all the auxiliary electrical power. The ship was starting to capsize when I decided to get off. I slid down the side as she began to roll over."
Outfielder Garrett Jenner appreciates stories like Mitchell's or the those of his teammates, many of who have serve tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"This is my third summer with the team," said Jenner, who earned MVP honors with a 3-for-4 effort that included two RBIs and two runs scored. "I've seen a lot of guys come and go and it makes me realize just how lucky I am. I get to do something I love, which is play baseball. These guys could be deployed at any time so it makes me appreciate what I have."
It took a little while, but the Military All-Stars finally got their bats going with six runs in the top of the third inning. Jenner's two-run single was the big blow in that inning.
The Delco All-Stars responded with five runs in the bottom of the third inning and tied the game on a two-out single by Aston Valley's Rob Caruso in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The Military All-Stars came right back and took a 7-6 lead on Wagner's solo homer in the top of the fifth inning.
"It was a 3-2 count and I was just trying to throw a strike," Mills said.
The Military All-Stars tacked on another run in the top of the seventh inning to secure the victory.
"It was a fantastic night and we hope to do it again," Minker said.
The Military All-Stars will preview a showing of the DVD titled "Ballfield to Battlefield and Back, from FDR to JFK" tonight at the Media Theater. Former major leaguers Mickey Vernon and George Case narrate the 60-minute DVD, which is a first-hand look at life in the big leagues from 1939-62. The film shows more 80 major league players who served in the Armed Forces during that period, which included World War II and the Korean War. The event is free and open to the public.
THE TRADITION CONTINUES American Heroes at baseballhistorian.com Page 311