With a unique format in place to decide a regulation tie, the Eastern League’s All-Star Game was decided when Reading outfielder Brian Pointer slammed a deciding home run to clinch a victory for the Eastern Division.
The Double-A league’s All-Star exhibition wrapped up nine innings of play with a 4-4 tie in Wednesday’s annual event held in Portland, Maine. Extra innings were not how the game would be decided and, without a way to display the method that was actually used to decide the winner, the contest’s box score displays the final score as a tie.
Instead of a traditional overtime format, the league used a home run derby to determine the winning club, with the two teams taking turns with one swing each time up, to try and launch a ball over the outfield wall in fair territory. Following eleven failed attempts by the Western division All-Stars and ten missed opportunities by Pointer and his Eastern division teammates, the 23-year-old lefty batter launched a deep fly to right field that reached the stands.
For Pointer, who was the Phillies’ 28th round draft selection in 2010, it was clearly a highlight to his pro career.
“That was unbelievable! Just awesome! One of my best moments that I’ve been a part of,” Pointer excitedly said on Wednesday night.
Pointer described the moment he recorded history, as, according to the Eastern League’s media guide, this was the first occurrence of the home run shootout rule.
“Everybody just rushed me at home plate. I couldn’t move. Just raised both arms up in the air because I knew I got it good and watched it go out into the stands up there and having everyone just erupt was a great moment,” Pointer stated.
In regulation play during the game, Pointer went 1-for-3 with a walk and a one stolen base in two attempts as his team’s designated hitter. The EL’s RBI leader, Reading first baseman Brock Stassi went 0-for-1 with a walk. Reliever Stephen Shackleford allowed a walk in 2/3 scoreless inning.
After competing in the MLB All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, Phils shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford was listed as inactive for the game, although he was previously honored among the league’s top talents as an All-Star.
Video of the game-deciding derby is embedded below. Pointer’s heroics can be viewed around the 11:45 mark.