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East squad pulls off late comeback to win 10-8 in TCL All-Star game

By By Hayden Henry - SPECIAL TO THE ADVOCATE
July 9, 2013 at 2:09 a.m.

Victoria's Romeo Cortena grounds out during Tuesday's TCL All-Star game in Kilgore.

KILGORE - A jam-packed crowd at Driller Park got quite the show Tuesday night as the Texas Collegiate League All-Star Game came to Kilgore for the first time in league history.

And the crowd saw a little bit of everything.

The best the TCL had offered a bevy of defense and pitching early, but as the night progressed, the big bats took over as the squads combined for 13 runs in the final three frames.

Trailing 6-3 headed into the bottom of the seventh inning, the East squad - comprised of players from the East Texas Pump Jacks, the Acadiana Cane Cutters and The Woodlands Strykers - put up five runs to take an 8-6 lead en route to a 10-8 win.

Texas A&M's Parker Ray got the nod for the West squad, which included players from the Brazos Valley Bombers, Victoria Generals and the Texas Marshals, and set the batters down in order to start the contest. Ray's outing was one of three 1-2-3 innings for the West. Middle Tennessee State's Zac Curtis, representing the Bombers, struck out the side in his one-inning outing in the fifth.

Brazos Valley's Brett Kauten reached on a fielder's choice and stole second and third before scoring the contest's first run on a two-error play. Victoria General and Sam Houston State's Romeo Cortina pushed the lead to 2-0 with an RBI groundout in the third.

The East took their first lead of the contest in the fourth inning, scoring three runs on one hit after three-straight walks. The Woodlands' Dirk Masters had a two-RBI single in the frame to complete a 2-for-4 night at the plate.

Blake Koptesky capped a four-run seventh for the West with a two-RBI double before the East reclaimed the lead with a five-run home frame of the inning.

Rice's Brian Smith knocked a double, and Dickey capped his night with and RBI single to push the East's lead to 10-8.

University of Texas' junior Ty Marlow, representing the Pump Jacks, was named the 2013 All-Star Game MVP after finishing 3-for-4 at the plate and tossing a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.

Woodlands' Santana wins home run contest

KILGORE - Kevin Santana didn't waste any time putting away the 2013 Texas Collegiate League Home Run Derby championship on Tuesday at Driller Park.

Santana, representing The Woodlands Strykers in the TCL All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby, went deep on his first three swings in the championship round to capture the title. He homered twice in the semifinals, advancing to the title round along with Chabrielle Pizzarro of the Texas Marshals and Mitchell Nau of the Acadiana Cane Cutters after all three players hit three bombs in the semifinals.

Other contestants were Mitch Meyer of the East Texas Pump Jacks, David Paiz, Jr. of the Victoria Generals and Brett Kauten of the Brazos Valley Bombers. Paiz, Jr. and Kauten hit one homer apiece in the semifinals. Meyer was shut out.

"There isn't really much strategy at a park like this. I was just trying to connect and hit the ball hard," said Santana, who played last season at Blinn and will move on to Lamar University for his junior season.

Contestants were given 10 outs to hit as many home runs as possible in the semifinals and the championship round. Any swing that did not result in a home run was an out.

"Luckily, the wind was at my back," said Santana, who leads the TCL this season with five home runs. "It's an amazing feeling being here for the all-star game. I've always liked this park the few times we've been here."

Pizzarro homered with six outs and again with eight outs in the championship round. Nau connected once in the championship round after five outs were recorded.

Santana stepped in and ended things quickly, hitting three straight pitches out to left field - the second one hitting the foul pole.

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