IT WAS A rough night for the hometown team’s ace during the California-Carolina all-star game Tuesday in Wilmington.
Wilmington Blue Rocks pitcher Christian Binford, the Carolina League’s strikeout leader, committed an error and coughed up a two-run bomb to the soon-to-be promoted Kyle Waldrop (Bakersfield) in the fourth inning of a 3-2 loss at Daniel Frawley Stadium.
Binford did fan a pair, though, proving his 79 strikeouts during the season’s first half were no fluke.
This particular all-star game is a wonderful exercise is juxtaposition, considering the California League is a notorious hitters’ league while the Carolina leans heavily to the pitching side. Wilmington is one of the most extreme of the league’s pitchers’ parks and the final score followed suit.
Waldrop, who will head to Double-A today, was the star of Tuesday’s event, going 2 for 3 with three runs batted it. His Bakersfield teammate Ben Lively got the win with two scoreless innings to start the game and will be joining Waldrop on the plane to Pensacola.
Four Carolina pitchers recorded at least two strikeouts in their inning of work – Binford, Andrew Faulkner (Myrtle Beach), Greg Ross (Lynchburg) and Wilmington closer Mark Peterson. Lake Elsinore’s Trevor Gott coughed up two hits and a run, but struck out the side for the Californians.
Offensively, there wasn’t much to write home about for the Carolinians. Lynchburg’s Frank Wren was 2 for 3 while Myrtle Beach catcher Jorge Alfaro clubbed a triple. As a team, Carolina was 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
Winston-Salem’s Courtney Hawkins, the current league home run leader with Joey Gallo in Double-A, was hitless and struck out three times in four at-bats.
In a fun pre-game ceremony, former Wilmington Blue Rock standout Johnny Damon had his jersey retired by the team.
Both leagues have Wednesday off before starting the second half on Thursday.