CHARLESTON, W.V. – By the time the 2019 South Atlantic League All-Star Game rosters were finalized, the Charleston RiverDogs had a whopping seven players selected. Four Dogs made it into the contest at Appalachian Power Park Tuesday night, as the Southern Division fell to the North 6-2.
The night started off well for the Holy City representatives, as Canaan Smith, starting in left field for the South, took his first at-bat in the top of the first inning with two outs. The Rockwall, Texas native worked a seven-pitch at-bat against the Delmarva Shorebirds’ Grayson Rodriguez, fouling off four total pitches before lining a single to center field. He would be stranded on first base when Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas flew out to right field, ending the frame.
Smith received another at-bat leading off the top of the fourth inning with the game still scoreless. He again worked a lengthy plate appearance, forcing six pitches out of Delmarva’s Drew Rom before taking the seventh for a called third strike.
When Smith’s turn in the order came up again in the sixth inning with the Columbia Fireflies’ Ronny Mauricio on second base, his teammate Brandon Lockridge was called upon to pinch hit. Lockridge came through with the biggest hit of the night for his club, crushing a 1-1 offering from a third Shorebird pitcher, this time Ofelky Peralta, over the left field wall to break the ice and put the South up 2-0.
The two-run shot was technically his 14th long ball of the day after he parked 13 homers in the 2019 South Atlantic League Home Run Derby just a couple of hours before the game started. His teammate Smith also took part in the festivities before the game, clubbing seven home runs.
Dogs catcher/first baseman Mickey Gasper was the third Charleston position player to enter the contest, coming in to pinch hit in the seventh. He worked ahead in the count 1-0 before lining out to center field. Lockridge would get another chance in the eighth, but he also flew out to center.
Dogs starter Luis Gil was scheduled to start the Mid-Summer Classic, but because he made his start Sunday afternoon in the first-half finale at Joe Riley Park, he was unavailable to toe the rubber Tuesday night. Alexander Vizcaino, the other Charleston pitcher selected to make the trip to West Virginia, entered the game in the home half of the eighth inning and struggled mightily. The Dominican Republic native surrendered the South’s narrow 2-1 lead, allowing five runs on three hits in just 1/3 of an inning. He struck out one and issued one free pass. By the time the final out of the inning was recorded, the North had claimed a 6-2 lead.