Great Plains Division Wins 2021 Northwoods League All-Star Game
St. Cloud Rox infielder Otto Kemp is named Star of Stars by going 2 for 4 with a home run
Rochester, Minn. – The two-day event in Mankato began on Monday with the Northwoods League Home Run Challenge which was won in dramatic form in the last frame by Matt Higgins (Bellarmine) of the Mankato MoonDogs. Higgins hit nine home runs in the bottom half of the ninth inning to give the Plains the win. Griffin Doersching (Northern Kentucky) of the Lakeshore Chinooks won the individual portion of the challenge with 13 home runs.
On Tuesday, the day began with the All-Star Banquet which featured guest speaker Tony Oliva of the Minnesota Twins. The players then took to the field for an afternoon workout in front of Major League scouts before preparing for the game that night.
After a ceremonial first pitch thrown by Minnesota Vikings receiver Adam Thielen, both teams would go scoreless in the first frame. In the bottom of the second inning Garret McGowan (Pittsburg State) of the Waterloo Bucks singled home Caleb Ricketts (University of San Diego) from St. Cloud for the first run of the game. Kamron Willman (Kansas State) of the Bismarck Larks singled later in the inning, driving in Garrett McGowan for the second run for the Plains. The Plains tacked on single runs in the third through sixth innings with Otto Kemp (Point Loma Nazarene) hitting a homerun to right in the sixth inning.
After getting a run in the fourth inning the Lakes were held scoreless until the 9th inning when they mounted a comeback putting two runs on the board. Kenosha Kingfish outfielder McKay Barney (Washington University) singled scoring Kokomo Jackrabbit Chase Meidroth (San Diego) and a single from Dock Spider Chandler Simpson (Alabama at Birmingham) scored Woodchuck Kevin Kilpatrick (Central Florida CC). That was all the Lakes could muster as Kevin Davis (South Carolina Upstate) of the Rox was able to strikeout Jackson Loftin (Oral Roberts) of the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders to end the game.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Now in its’ 28th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 260 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove finalist and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website at watchnwl.com. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.