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Tourists’ Mesa Awarded All-Star MVP

ASHEVILLE, NC – There was no winning team in Tuesday night’s South Atlantic League All-Star game, with the game ending in a 5-5 tie, but one winner was without a doubt Eliezer Mesa.

Mesa was awarded the Most Valuable Player award, and he was presented a Top Star customized baseball bat by league President Eric Krupa following the game. Eliezer went 3-for-5 with a double, a run scored, two RBI’s, and a stolen base en route to his first ever All-Star game MVP selection.

When interviewed after the game on MY40 T.V. who broadcasted the event, Mesa said “I want to say thank you to everyone for the opportunity to play here”. For a man who speaks very little English, it was clear Mesa was filled with excitement when learning he was the recipient of this prestigious award. After Mesa received the award, he remained on the field signing autographs for everyone who asked him. He even gave his game used bat to a fan and autographed it as well.

Eliezer was one of five Tourists to be voted in and selected to the Southern Division squad. Pitchers Sheng-An Kuo and Alan DeRatt both pitched well for their team. Kuo faced the minimum in the tenth inning, while DeRatt pitched the in the third. Alan did allow two runs to score, however one of those runs was unearned when second baseman, Jose Altuve of the Lexington Legends, turned what should have been a double play into an error that kept the inning alive. Altuve had two errors in the game.

Angelys Nina and Joe Sanders both came into the game in the sixth inning. Nina went 0-for-2, but made some solid defensive plays at second, something Altuve had trouble with. Sanders had one plate appearance and drove a single down the third base line.

Sanders also competed in the Home Run Derby before the game. Joe ended up hitting one home run and failed to make it to the finals. It was difficult for Joe to pick up any rhythm, because the coach who was pitching to him consistently threw the ball either in the dirt or at eye level. Sanders took around 50 pitches throughout his turn just waiting for a strike.

The North took the early lead 2-0 in the first inning, when Greensboro catcher Kyle Skipworth hit a two-run homer. The South came back in the second with four runs, highlighted by Mesa’s bases loaded double, plating a pair. In the third, the North tied the score at 4-4 with two more runs. Then in the fourth inning, the North recaptured the lead at 5-4 on Altuve’s second error. In the South’s half of the fourth, Zoilo Almonte of Charleston led off with a double; Mesa then singled him to third. After Mesa stole second, Almonte came in to score the tying run on an RBI groundout.

The game became a pitcher’s duel after that, as neither team was able to score again. After the tenth inning was completed, both teams had used all of their pitchers. It was mutually agreed that the game would end in a 5-5 tie. Overall the Tourists hitters batted .500, going 4-for-8.

Mesa was the only player from both teams to record three hits, a big reason the media selected him the game’s Most Valuable Player. Mesa currently sits second in the South Atlantic League with a .337 batting average and he leads the Tourists in runs scored (47), hits (83), multi-hit games (24), doubles (22), triples (6), and stolen bases (17).

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