Stars align in Whiting for MCL All-Star Game
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent July 9, 2013 11:06PM
South All-Star's Jack Czszewski (16) bumps fists with teammate Jimmy McNamara (25) as the teams are introduced before the start of MCL North/South All-Stars game in Whiting, In., on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. | John Smierciak~for Sun-Times Media ORG XMIT: oilmen-PTB-071013-1
Updated: July 16, 2013 10:47AM
WHITING — The official Major League Baseball Midsummer Classic is still one week away, but a talent showcase of a different variety took place at Oil City Stadium on Tuesday night, as the Midwest Collegiate League’s best players assembled for its All-Star Game.
“It’s just an honor to be here and to be representing my team,” said NWI Oilmen reliever and Gavit product Aveeno Nasiloski, who made a brief appearance in the eighth inning without allowing a run. “This is something I’ve worked hard for. I’m just trying to keep a level head and continue doing what I’ve been doing all season.”
The night’s festivities also served as a homecoming for Whiting native and current Chicago Zephyr Andrew Lowe.
“It was definitely a goal of mine to play in the All-Star Game this summer. I live, literally, right across the alley from this stadium. I can see it from by bedroom window,” said Lowe, a 2010 graduate from Whiting who pitched one inning for the visiting North All-Stars.
It was a homecoming for Southland Vikings third basemen John Livingston. The Highland product made his first appearance in the home dugout since the 2012 MCL season as a member of the South All-Stars. Livingston spent last summer with the Oilmen.
“I love this park; it’s a great field to play on,” said Livingston, who will be a teammate of Lowe’s for the inaugural season of baseball at Purdue Calumet next spring. “I’m just trying to square a few pitches up and play some good defense over at third base.”
Part of the players’ reward for being selected to play in the All-Star Game is the chance to showcase their abilities for several MLB scouts in attendance, who were getting an early start on their work for the 2014 Draft.
“The last draft just happened, so now we’re starting the whole process over to look at next year’s draft,” said Ryan Dorsey, a scout in attendance from the White Sox organization. “This early in the process, you’re looking for any of the five tools: guys with arm strength, guys that can run … you’re just out here to see what you can find.”
Four different MLB teams had scouts in Whiting on Tuesday night, but not every player noticed them.
“There were scouts here?” was Jimmy McNamara’s response when asked about the scouts’ presence. “I didn’t even notice. I was pretty focused.” McNamara got the start for the South All-Stars, pitching a scoreless first inning.
NWI Oilmen shortstop Leiff Clarkson must’ve felt pretty good as well, as he drove in two runs with a third-inning single, staking the South All-Stars to an early 5-1 lead.
The North squad bounced back by putting up three runs in the top of the fifth. But the South team — with 10 Oilmen players on their roster — put up two more runs in the bottom half of that inning to push their lead to 7-4. Livingston started the rally with a leadoff single and later scored on Clarkson’s second run-producing hit of the game.
By the bottom of the eighth inning, that lead had been extended to a 10-4 lead for the South All-Stars. The South ended up winning 12-4.