By KEN MORSE
The Bristol Blues will be sending five players to the FCBL All-Star Game in Nashau on Tuesday July 17. UConn freshman catcher Patrick Winkel, Quinnipiac sophomore second baseman Ian Ostberg, Emory junior infielder/pitcher Richard Brereton, Boston College freshman pitcher Emmet Sheehan and Seton Hall sophomore pitcher Neal McDermott will represent the FCBL All-Stars for Bristol.
Additionally, Blues outfielder/pitcher Peyton Stephens was selected from a pool of players where the top two vote getters by the fans also made the All Star team.
“The league office asked each of the teams to submit the name of one player who will get voted in by the fans,” said Blues General Manager Brian Rooney. “We chose Peyton since he is a two way player being an outfielder and a pitcher.”
Stephens is batting .250 with 12 RBI, four doubles, one triple, and one home run and has thrown five innings striking out 10 with a 1.58 ERA.
“The top two vote getters will be added to the All-Star teams, which will be announced Sunday night,” added Rooney. “Currently, Peyton is in the running as one of the top two vote getters.”
Bristol heads into the All-Star break on a three-game winning streak, having won six of the last seven and are at 23-17 four games back. Worcester is in second place at 23-14 two and a half games back with Martha’s Vineyard leading the circuit at 25-11.
The FCBL All-Stars are being split up between the seven teams in the circuit representing the Campanella team going up against the Newcombe team. Nashua, last year’s league champions, are celebrating the 80th anniversary of Holman Stadium.
In 1946-1949 Nashua hosted the Dodgers’ minor league affiliate and are honoring the rich history of baseball at Holman Stadium by naming both All-Star squads after the Hall of Fame players.
The Campanella squad will have Winkel along with Blues pitchers Sheehan and FCBL leading closer McDermott and in the opposing dugout Ostberg and Brereton will represent the Newcombe squad.
“I think it will be fun for the guys to be going up against each other being on different teams,” said Blues head coach Ronnie Palmer. “It will certainly be for bragging rights once the players get back to their organizations.”
“No one is close statistically as to what Neal has done as our closer. He is the number one closer in the league. Emmet has given us some good starts after coming out of the bullpen for us and I’m really pleased that both of them got the nod as being named All-Stars.”
Winkel (.267 average, 11 RBI, 1 home run in 12 games played) will represent the Blues in the Home Run Derby going up against Sal Frelick (7 HR’s season) of the Navigators, Mike Dellicarri (6 HR’s) of the Bravehearts and Jake Lebel (4 HR’s) of the Nashua Silver Knights.
“If it works out that Neal or Emmet get to throw to Patrick that will obviously be a plus throwing to their own catcher,” said Palmer. “Patrick has only played a few games because of his obligations at UConn but he can swing a good bat and we are happy that he is in the Home Run Derby.”
Ostberg has settled in as the Blues leadoff man at the top of the order swinging at a .307 clip leading the team with 39 hits and 30 runs scored with 18 stolen bases.
Brereton can play a multitude of positions in the infield and the outfield and has shown a pretty live arm out of the bullpen with 11 innings pitched striking out 18 with a tidy 1.54 ERA to go along with a 2-1 record and one save.
Batting from the number three or four spot in the order Brereton has shown consistency at the plate carrying a .276 mark on 35 hits, 18 runs scored and second on the team with 16 RBIs.
“Both of those guys have been consistent all summer for us,” said Palmer. “They are at the top of the order and spark our offense. They can drive runs in to extend innings and both can steal bases putting pressure on opposing pitchers.”
“Their selection to the All Star game is certainly warranted. They have put up team leading stats and have been also two of our best fielders.”
“We sent a bunch of names into the league that we feel should be All-Stars and quite honestly I think some of our guys got a little bit of a snub. That is no disrespect to Martha’s Vineyard or Worcester for what their players have done.”
“I would have certainly liked to have seen more Blues players participate. I’m sure it’s not an easy task but the league makes the final decision as to the All Stars that are selected. We are very proud of our guys that will be representing the Blues at the All Star game.”