The State Journal-Register
It couldn’t have been a more fitting inning for Springfield Sliders sluggers Mike Fitzgerald and Matt Tellor in the Prospect League All-Star Game on Wednesday at Robin Roberts Stadium.
With the game tied 1-1 in the fourth, Fitzgerald had a one-out single, which was followed by Terre Haute’s Kyle Kempf getting hit by a pitch. Tellor drove a changeup off Jake Johansen over the left-field wall to give the West Division team a 4-1 lead.
“I guess he was throwing hard,” Tellor said. “The first base coach told me he was clocked at 97 (mph) today. That changeup had to be upper-80s, lower-90s. I knew if I hit it, he supplied the power. I got good wood on it and it got out of here.”
The East Division team would never get any closer. The West piled on six more runs in the seventh inning and defeated the East 10-1.
Tellor was the game’s Most Valuable Player in his second Prospect League All-Star game but his first as a starter.
“It was definitely an honor to be a starter this year,” Tellor said. “Getting that home run tonight was an amazing accomplishment.”
Fitzgerald, who is tied for the Sliders’ team lead in homers with Tellor at nine — and added that now Tellor has some bragging rights — said it was a great experience.
“It was one of the most fun things I’ve been a part of,” Fitzgerald said. “We had a pretty good crowd tonight and the energy was just phenomenal.”
Fitzgerald graduated from Rochester High School, went to Lincoln Land Community College and will be playing for Indiana State University in Terre Haute in the fall.
“We just kept going. It was very loose in the dugout; the guys enjoyed it and we had fun,” West manager Ryan Anderson said. “It’s always easier to play with the lead.”
The West used one pitcher an inning and they combined to allow just one run on five hits and three walks while striking out 10. Springfield’s T.R. Dunne gave up a hit in a scoreless eighth inning.
“It’s easier for the pitchers to go one inning, air it out,” Anderson said. “Everybody’s at their best in the first inning.”
Dunne said he enjoyed his experience.
“I couldn’t imagine doing something different. Coming from a small town (Bartonville), I didn’t know what I was in for,” Dunne said. “There were a lot of fans (but) I didn’t really get nervous; I just went out and did my thing.”