With one swing of the bat, recent Georgetown Prep graduate Eric Ramsey supplied his South squad with what turned out to be an insurmountable lead and at the same, the Wake Forest University-bound outfielder locked up the most valuable hitter award for himself.
With the South holding a 2-1 with one out and two on, Ramsey punched a single to right field to score South River's Nick Sia and Quince Orchard's Alex Lipman for a three-run advantage that held for a 4-3 victory during Sunday's Brooks Robinson High School All-Star Game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
“I just try to get a pitch every time and drive the ball and I got a pitch on the inner half of the plate and I just put it down the line and I was lucky enough to get a hit out of it,” Ramsey said. “It's always fun to come out and compete and do everything you can to win but when you come away with the 'W,' it's always that much sweeter. I had a fun time.”
As did his Montgomery County teammates, Lipman, Quince Orchard's Billy Plante, Rockville's San Van Gieson and James H. Blake's Cody Acker. They helped the South team win for the fourth time in the past six years of the all-star game, which was started in 1982.
“It was amazing,” said the Catholic-bound Van Gieson, who went 0-for-3 at the plate and played all three outfield positions. “To play where all the greats have played, it was an unreal experience. It was great. It was a blessing.”
Lipman and Plante started at second base and catcher, respectively, and they combined for a trio of walks at the plate.
“It was definitely a great experience; it's something I didn't expect but I'm glad I was selected and I'm glad we were able to win,” Lipman said. “I saw some good pitchers but I was lucky to get on base.”
Plante added: “It was awesome. I did the same thing with the football state championship at Ravens Stadium. This and that was just the funnest experience. It feels the same. They're both played in big league parks. It's pretty sweet.”
Acker opened the bottom of the first inning with a single up the middle off his former Mid-Atlantic Red Sox teammate Kevin Mooney of North Harford, stole second base and eventually scored on a passed ball for a 1-0 lead. Mooney threw a perfect game in his high school team's state semifinal win against North Hagerstown.
“I played with Kevin Mooney all last summer so facing him was really a treat,” Acker said. “I faced him when I was like 12 years old and then I played with him when I was 17. I was just looking for a good pitch to hit. It was a 2[-ball], 1[-strike] count so I was looking for a fastball. He threw it over the plate so I hit it up the middle.
“It was definitely overwhelming. You never go in the outfield and look up at 40,000 seats and people are all around and [Baltimore Orioles center fielder] Adam Jones is in your dugout and you want surprise him by doing something really cool so he'll say something to you.”
One of the three coaches for the South squad was Gaithersburg's Jeff Rabberman, who currently coaches the Gaithersburg Giants Blue of Maryland Collegiate Baseball League. Rabberman's Giants entered the week in second place with a 4-1 record.
“It was an absolute thrill of a lifetime,” Rabberman said. “Coaching a game in a Major League baseball stadium and coaching this game with the 30 best seniors in the state of Maryland, it's more than words can describe. It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life.”
South All-Stars 4, North All-Stars 3
North 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 3 3 2
South 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 4 5 2
WP Ryan Meisinger. LP J.T. Root. RBI: North Lamonte Wade, Michael Austin. South Eric Ramsey 2.