News release from the TinCaps:
Guerrero, Mutz, and Smith Represent TinCaps in All-Star Game
COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. (June 17, 2014) – TinCaps center fiedler Mallex Smith won the biggest trophy of the night, although he and the rest of the East All-Stars lost to the West All-Stars, 7-0, in the 50th installment of the Midwest League All-Star Classic at Fifth Third Ballpark.
Prior to the game at the home of the West Michigan Whitecaps, Smith claimed the first ever Pepsi Lost Art of the Bunt Contest. In lieu of a home run derby, the Whitecaps invited three all-stars from each division to showcase their small ball adeptness. Target mats were placed down on both base lines for the participants to attempt to “hit” and accumulate points.
Smith, who throughout the first half of the season utilized his bunting ability to bat .295, won the inaugural contest. He was the lone bunter to have a ball come to a stop on either target and as a result was presented with a trophy that appeared more than three feet tall, and featured a “bundt” cake pan attached to the top with a baseball in the middle.
You could say the 20-year-old was able to have his cake and eat it, too. In addition to the trophy, he was presented with a freshly baked chocolate bundt cake.
However, Smith said he planned to save the cake for his teammates to enjoy as a celebration for an All-Star Classic victory. To the chagrin of their appetites, there would be no dessert for the East on Tuesday. In fact, there would not only be no win, but no runs, and until the eighth inning, no hits.
The West scored in the top of the first inning and that proved to be plenty. They added some proverbial icing with two runs in the third inning and then put the celebratory candles on top with a four-run sixth.
Meanwhile, as odd as it was for an All-Star Classic, any candles the East had were solemnly lit in hopes of just getting a hit. It wasn’t until there was one out in the bottom of the eighth inning that South Bend’s Marty Herum delivered a pinch-hit groundball single through the right side of the infield for the East’s first hit. They’d only get one more for naught in the ninth, as 11 pitchers from the West teamed for the shutout.
The bunting champ, Smith, played the entire game in center field. In his final game in a TinCaps hat (the teams wore special All-Star jerseys), he went 0-for-3 at the plate. Wednesday morning Smith is ticketed to fly to California to join San Diego’s Advanced-A affiliate, the Lake Elsinore Storm. He leaves Fort Wayne leading all levels of baseball in stolen bases with 48.
On the mound, the East may have given up seven runs on eight hits, but it was no fault of TinCaps relievers Nick Mutz and Tyron Guerrero. In a reversal of their customary roles during the first half with Fort Wayne, Mutz pitched a perfect eighth inning, while Guerrero worked a 1-2-3 ninth.
The 24-year-old Mutz, who has a regular season ERA of 1.86 as a closer, recorded a strikeout. Guerrero, 23, didn’t strike anyone out, but his fastball was clocked at 99 miles per hour on the stadium’s radar gun.
Fifth Third Ballpark, which suffered a fire that destroyed approximately 40-percent of its structure on January 3, looked magnificent on Tuesday and hosted a crowd of 7,046.
Though Smith leaves for his promotion, Mutz, Guerrero, and the rest of the TinCaps return to Fifth Third Ballpark on Thursday to begin the second half of the season. The TinCaps and Whitecaps are slated to play the opener of a four-game series at 7:00 p.m. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio 1380, TheFanIndiana.com, and the TuneIn Radio app.