West 4 9 1
East 9 12 2
Baseball’s top youngsters were on rare display Saturday night at Talking Stick’s Salt River Fields. The East division trumped the West division squad by a score of 9-4 in the annual Arizona Fall League’s Rising Stars Game. The offenses exploded during the beginning innings, after the West took an early 4-3 lead, the East squad scored six runs in the bottom of the fifth to take back the lead for good. The East scored one run in the first, second, and fourth innings, before exploding for six unanswered runs in the fifth. The game featured perhaps the top two outfield prospects center fielders Billy Hamilton, and Brian Goodwin, who dueled each other the entire game. It was Goodwin, and his East all-stars who came out the winners.
Brian Goodwin, a prospect in the National’s farm system, hit the game’s only home run, a towering shot off of Twin’s prospect Kyle Gibson, that landed in the right field outfield grass. Goodwin went 2 for 5 with the solo home run, and an RBI single, and scored twice. Another outfield prospect, the speedy Billy Hamilton also put on a speed show for the 5,713 fans in attendance. Hamilton stole two bases, scored two runs, and walked twice during the offensive slugfest. Hamilton also showed his speed in the field, robbing Goodwin of an extra base hit with a great running catch at the warning track.The West grabbed an early lead with two runs in the top of the first. Hamilton led off with a walk, and stole second, the first of his two steals. Hamilton then stole third, and Rymer Liriano, the Padre’s hitting prospect doubled home Hamilton for the first run of the game. Liriano would score on a sac fly from Hunter Morris to give the West a 2-0 lead.However in the bottom half of the first, Goodwin’s solo shot, put the East team within one run. The East would tie the game in the bottom of the second. Austin Romine lead off with a triple, and scored on a Kyle Gibson wild pitch. Chris Owings singled, stole second, and scored on a line drive RBI single to right by Giant’s outfield prospect Gary Brown. That made the score 3-2 East.
The West would respond with two runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead 4-3. After Tommy Joseph singled, and then was pinch-run for by Nick Ahmed, the East would bring in pitcher Tony Zych, who would end up picking up the win. Hamilton laid down a drag bunt single up along first base, and Jonathan Singleton’s throw is wide, allowing Ahmed to score, and Hamilton to go to third on the throwing error. Hak-Ju Lee singled home Hamilton, and Liriano doubles Lee to third. That’s all the West would get, as Zych whiffs Morris, and retired Nick Franklin on a pop out.
The East would rally back for six runs in the bottom of the fifth. The losing pitcher, Michael Tonkin, was charged with four of the six runs. Kaleb Cowart singled, and Romine was hit by a pitch. Corey Dickerson’s single to center scores Cowart, and Yankee’s infield prospect David Adams doubles in Hamilton and Romine, giving the East the lead. There was another fielding error, a pitching change, and then Goodwin’s second hit, a double, plated the fourth run of the frame. Ricky Oropesa singled in a run, and the sixth run was plated on a Joc Pederson sacrifice fly. Perhaps the real offensive star of the night, was Liriano, who had three hits, two doubles, drove in and scored a run. The six runs would be plenty, as the East cruised to victory the rest of the way, even surviving a late rally in the ninth from the West.
Houston pitching prospect Jarred Cosart started the game for the East squad, and lasted two frames, allowing one run on two hits, walking two and whiffing one. His opposing starter Kyle Gibson pitched two innings as well, allowing two runs on three hits, and whiffing two. If you are looking for a pitching star, check out righty Chase Anderson. The unlikely hero who relieved Cosart, tossed two perfect frames, whiffing four.The East squad was 5 for 11 with runners in scoring position, while the West team was only 2 for 11. The west also left ten men on base, and couldn’t come up with the big hits throughout the game. The East banged out nine runs on 12 hits. Goowdin’s homer was the lone round tripper in the game. The final out of the game was recorded on a Heath Hembree whiff of Michael Almanzar with the bases loaded. The East was able to stave off a final rally by the West team.Goodwin had a lot of fun playing while he impressed the scouts in the stands with his strong performance.
“This was more fun than I thought it would be” Goodwin said. “I met some new guys, we played the game we love and we came out with a win. What else are you playing for?”
Chase Anderson, the local Arizona prospect, relished the opportunity to play, as he is coming back form injury after missing most of last season. “I was hoping for an opportunity to play in this league this year,” Anderson said.
Many of these young players will become major leaguers. 72.6% of the players in the Rising stars game go on to play in the big leagues. That’s a pretty good success rate.