Following a long-ball hitting display, the Los Lunas Men’s Softball League All-Star Game featured station-to-station softball Thursday night at Daniel Fernandez Park. The American Division defeated the National Division, 23-21 in the 10th annual affair.
Thirteen sluggers participated in a home run derby before the game, in which 20 dingers were hit. But there were only four home runs hit during the game. One of the four was hit in the first inning by Bar III/Two Minute Warning’s Ramon Barela, who won the home run hitting contest for the sixth time.
Barela did not go unchallenged in the dinger derby. After hitting four over the fence in the preliminary round, Socorro Magic’s Wayne Robertson hit four dingers of his own to force a shoot-out with the defending champ.
In the five-swing, 10-pitch playoff, Robertson hit two balls out to set the mark. Barela then strode to the plate and belted two home runs in his first three cuts. Barela kept things interesting by failing to hit the ball out on his fourth swing. But on his final swing, he crushed a shot out of the park to retain his title.
Since the American Division dominated the home run derby, the National Division decided to exact their revenge in the game. The National Division all-stars started things off with an 11-run first inning, accentuated by home runs from Paul Aguilar of the Crushers and Ray Chavez of the Royals for two of the team’s three home runs.
The Nationals led 14-7 after three innings then added another five runs in the top of the fourth to extend their lead to 19-7.
But the Americans would not be stifled. In the fourth inning, the Americans scored six runs on six singles and a two-RBI double from the game’s Most Valuable Player, Julio Peguero of the Socorro Magic, who was 3 for 5, a home run short of the cycle, with four RBIs. Down by seven runs, 19-13, the Americans were beginning to gain ground. The Americans’ gloves came alive in the fifth and sixth innings when the Nationals were blanked by the home team.
The American Division allowed just two more runs the rest of the game and took advantage of the Nationals’ scoring drought. The Americans plated four runners in the fifth on a single, two doubles, a triple and a sacrifice fly.
In the sixth inning, the American Division All-Stars kept the short-knock baseball going, scoring two more runners on three singles to tie the game at 19.
The National division regained the lead, 20-19, in the seventh inning on a string of singles that scored Ray Chavez. But the Americans battled back with three runs in the bottom of the seventh and one in the eighth to take a 23-20 lead.
The Nats tried to mount one final comeback in the ninth, plating a single runner, but a fly out with a runner on first ended the Nationals chances and gave the Americans the win.