Team Australia rides 8-run rally to All-Star Game win
Former Minor Leaguer Kennelly named MVP after going 2-for-2 with three RBIs
By Craig Durham
Special to MLB.com |
The 2014 Australian Baseball League All-Star Game featured a late comeback from Team Australia, who topped the World All-Stars, 11-8, on Wednesday night in Melbourne. The Australians trailed, 8-3, before erupting for eight runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Despite the loss, the World All-Stars received major contributions from a host of MLB prospects.
Rays outfield prospect Johnny Field led the way for the World squad, going 3-for-3 with two runs and a pair of RBIs. Through the first half of the season, Field is slashing .275/.376/.516 and is tied for third in the league with six home runs in 24 games. A fifth-round pick of Tampa Bay in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, Field is coming off a tremendous season in which he hit .300 with 12 home runs and 58 RBIs in 122 combined games for Class A Bowling Green and Class A Advanced Charlotte.
Rockies shortstop prospect Joey Wong turned in a 3-for-5 night, a year removed from being named the Most Valuable Player of the 2013 ABL All-Star Game. In his second season in Australia, the 26-year-old Wong is hitting .298 through 24 games.
Aaron Miller, one of the ABL's biggest stars in 2014, went 2-for-5 with an RBI in the All-Star Game, also scoring two runs. The 27-year-old Dodgers prospect leads the league with a .365 average, also posting seven home runs, 21 RBIs and seven stolen bases through his first 25 ABL contests.
Miller spent five years as a pitcher in the Dodgers organization, putting together a career 20-19 record and 4.03 ERA in 82 games (65 starts). He moved to the outfield full-time prior to the 2014 season, where he hit .257 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs in 102 games with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga.
Rays prospect Maxx Tissenbaum has been stellar in his first season in Australia, and he came off the bench in the All-Star Game to go 2-for-2 while handling the catching duties. The Toronto-born Tissenbaum has appeared in 20 games for Brisbane, hitting .328 with a .923 OPS at the break.
Yet another Rays prospect, Thomas Coyle, went 1-for-4 in the leadoff spot for the World All-Stars, and he heads into the second half of the season with a .359 batting average.
On the mound, Marlins prospect Craig Stem and D-backs prospect Markus Solbach each turned in a scoreless inning of work. Both right-handers allowed one hit and struck out one in their respective All-Star Game appearances.
Team Australia's eight-run eighth inning was highlighted by two big doubles, the first of which came from former Minor Leaguer Tim Kennelly. Kennelly, who appeared in 570 Minor League games over nine seasons, finished the night 2-for-2 with three RBIs. He earned MVP honors for his performance.
Rockies prospect Robbie Perkins delivered the game-winning hit, a two-run double in the eighth. Perkins has been remarkably consistent as the Canberra everyday catcher this season, hitting .290 and riding a seven-game hit streak.
Padres prospect Samuel Holland picked up the save for Team Australia, facing four batters in the ninth. Holland has put together solid numbers in his first two years in the Minors, compiling a 2-3 record, 2.35 ERA and eight saves in 54 appearances. In 2014, the right-hander struck out 53 while walking just eight in 40 2/3 innings for low Class A Eugene of the Northwest League.
Wednesday night's contest marked the midway point of the ABL season, which resumes Thursday night.
Craig Durham is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.