Dick Howser All-Star showcase a fun and fitting finale for area's top baseball prospects
Saturday, June 04, 2011
by Matt Porter
JUPITER -- It was hard to predict who was going to win the game and who would take home the Most Valuable Player awards, but the 24th annual Dick Howser High School Baseball All-Star Game ended in a 3-3 tie, and Jupiter's Ryan Harris and Royal Palm Beach's Justin Bryant were named MVPs of their respective teams.
"Everybody had their moments," said Harris, who went 1-3 with an RBI single for the North team, and started the game by pitching two hitless innings. "It was a great game."
A 10-inning deadlock was the result of a North-South matchup of 44 of the top seniors in Palm Beach County. While the pitchers won out, the teams combined for 19 hits .
The North took a 2-0 lead in the first off Santaluces right-hander Kyle Smith, who allowed three hits. Palm Beach Gardens' J.D. Underwood hit an RBI double to score Dwyer's Bradley Borosak and Harris singled in Underwood.
In the seventh, North catcher Shane Osborn (Cardinal Newman) doubled off John I. Leonard reliever Devin Vargo and scored on a wild pitch.
The South tied it in the ninth as Smith and American Heritage catcher Jacob O'Keefe singled, and Bryant hit a two-run triple and scored on a wild pitch.
Every player had the green light to swing and steal, and there was plenty of joking around in the dugouts. After he was pulled, Smith kidded that he put on an MVP performance - for his opponents. His teammates razzed him that he should wear a split jersey. Half-Cardinals, half-Marlins. "Mardinals," West Boca's Michael Kelly joked.
Kelly got serious on the mound, throwing a scoreless inning. Several South teammates did the same: Park Vista's Ryan Pistey, American Heritage's Billy Strode, Boca Raton's Hector Rojas and Royal Palm Beach's Christian Benhart. For the North, Seminole Ridge lefty T.J. Farjad (four strikeouts in two innings), Jupiter's Calvin Greener and Wellington's Clint Knoblauch threw clean frames.
Among several strong defensive plays, Jupiter's J.J. Crespo made a solid running catch in left field, Dwyer shortstop Matt Adamowicz threw out a pair of runners from deep in the hole, and for the South, center fielder Dominic Jose (Boca Raton) showed off a cannon arm.
"I think it was great, and the kids loved it," said Dwyer coach Frank Torre, who coached the North team. "Just getting treated like a professional baseball player for one day is pretty cool ."
Before the game, the players walked through the Florida Marlins' spring training clubhouse and saw their own uniforms hanging in lockers with their names on placards above the stalls. Before playing on a professional field, they dressed in the uniforms of the St. Louis Cardinals and Florida Marlins.
Some of the players will play in college, some will never play again, and a few will be chosen in the MLB Draft, which begins Monday. Not a bad way to end this chapter of their baseball lives.
"I think everyone thought it was cool, but nobody was going to show it," Torre said. "They all want to seem like they've done this before. Some have done big showcases and similar things, but this was pretty cool."