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South Division ends three-game All-Star losing streak with 8-4 triumph

Madison, WI – July 14, 2008. The Northwoods League South Division All-Stars broke a three-year All-Star Game losing streak with an 8-4 victory over the North Division All-Stars in Madison, WI. Cory Vaughn (La Crosse, San Diego State) was named All-Star Game MVP with his 2-for-3 performance and one RBI and one run scored. A new All-Star Game record crowd of 5,357 fans came out to the “Duck Pond” for the midseason showcase. Every player on each All-Star team made an appearance in the game.

Vaughn, Josh Prince (Green Bay, Tulane) and Rob Lyerly (Madison, Charlotte) all had two hits for the victorious South Division squad. One of Prince’s hits was a two-run home run that he blasted over the left field fence on a 3-0 pitch off Phil Haig (Rochester, Illinois). The North Division was paced by Brian Hernandez’ (St. Cloud, College of the Canyons) 2-for-2 night and two RBIs from Josh Upchurch (Alexandria, Florida Gulf Coast). Chris Sale (La Crosse, Florida Gulf Coast) earned the win for the South Division, while Alex Kalogrides (Brainerd, San Francisco) took the loss.

South Division’s Matt Jansen (Madison, Purdue) took the mound to start things off in front of his home crowd. Jansen did not disappoint the Mallards faithful, striking out the side in the top of the first while throwing 20 pitches.

After Jansen’s masterful work through the North Division lineup the South Division took their first at bats and put two on the scoreboard, thanks to an RBI double by Vaughn and a run-scoring single by Lyerly that brought around Vaughn.

The familiar All-Star Game defensive changes began in the second inning. Kyle Gumieny (Wisconsin, Lamar CC) moved to the mound in place of Jansen and promptly gave up a leadoff home run to Eric Stephens (Rochester, Cal State Fullerton) to cut the South Division’s lead in half. Gumieny was able to get an out before giving up three straight base hits and a walk to give the North a 3-2 advantage after one-and-a-half.

The North Division also made a pitching change in the second inning, bringing in Nate Woods (Thunder Bay, Belmont). After Jeff Cowan (Wisconsin, High Point) reached on an error, Troy Frazier (Wisconsin, Kentucky) grounded into a tailor-made double play and Rocky Gale (Green Bay, Portland) grounded out to second to end the inning and keep the lead intact.

Neither team could push a run across in the third inning. In the bottom of the fourth the South Division scored two runs to retake the lead 4-3. Kalogrides moved to the mound to start the frame and gave up a leadoff single to Lyerly. He then hit Joey Register (Waterloo, Texas A&M) with a 1-0 pitch to put runners on first and second with nobody outs. Cowan then drew a walk, loading the bases still with nobody out. Frazier then tied the game with a single, scoring Lyerly. The catcher Gale stepped to the plate and grounded into a fielder’s choice force-out at third, scoring Register to get the lead back.

The fifth and sixth went by with little fanfare with another two-run frame for the South Division coming in the bottom of the sixth, making the score 6-3 in favor of the boys in green. The scoring in pairs continued for the South in the bottom of the seventh, as Nick O’Shea (Green Bay, Minnesota) doubled and later scored on a Register single. The junior came around on a P.J. Polk (La Crosse, Tennessee) two-bagger.

The North Division added their final tally of the night in the top of the eighth, when Derek McCallum (St. Cloud, Minnesota) hit a sacrifice fly to left that scored Mike O’Neill (Thunder Bay, Southern California) from third.

That was all the scoring for the night, and the South Division emerged on top 8-4. Tuesday is a league off-day as the All-Star Break concludes, and the Mallards will be back at home Wednesday night for a showdown with Alexandria at 7:05. It is Rayovac/Remington Mini Millie Bobblehead Night (first 2,500 fans)! The Mallards swept two from the Beetles last week in Alexandria.