Sextet of RiverDogs Selected for 50th SAL All-Star Game
CHARLESTON, SC - Manager Torre Tyson and pitching coach Jeff Ware will lead a sextet of Charleston RiverDogs to Charleston, W. Va. to participate in the 50th South Atlantic League All-Star Game on June 23 at Appalachian Power Park, home of the Northern Division's West Virginia Power.
Starting in the game for the Southern Division will be right fielder Melky Mesa and designated hitter Dan Brewer, for the while joining them in the midsummer classic include starting pitcher Hector Noesi and reliever Pat Venditte, professional baseball's lone switch-pitcher.
"This is a great opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments that the players have made during the first half," Tyson said. "The guys selected worked hard and the All Star celebration gives them a chance to sit back and play."
This will be Tyson's second All-Star appearance on the coaching staff for the Southern Division All-Stars in as many years having served as a coach for the 2008 All-Star Game in Greensboro, N.C. Through 56 games in the season, Tyson has guided the RiverDogs to the top of the Southern Division standings with a 33-23 record, which accounts for the most victories in the entire league.
Ware makes his first appearance to the All-Star Game and joins Tyson on the Southern Division's coaching staff. As the pitching coach for the RiverDogs, Ware has guided a staff to a team ERA of 2.95 which is third in the league, and the staff has amassed 472 strikeouts, good for second in the circuit.
Brewer will be the starting designated hitter for the Southern Division. He has been among the league's elite hitters since becoming a regular, raking at a .327 clip to rank third-best in the SAL. The LaGrange, Ill. native has cracked 13 doubles, one triple, two home runs and driven home 19 runs. The Bradley University product has hit in every slot in the batting order in 09 and played five different positions through 45 games.
Mesa has been selected as the Southern Division's starting right fielder. In 52 games played, he has started in right field 43 times and leads the league with eight assists. The Dominican Republic native is tied for the league lead with 12 home runs and is ranked in the top five in the loop in RBI (33; fifth), extra-base hits (28; third), runs (35; fifth) and slugging percentage (.533; fifth). Mesa also has a 14-game hitting streak this season, which is tied for the third-longest stretch in the league.
Noesi, a non-drafted free agent signed in 2004, started the season in the bullpen with six scoreless appearances, but came into his own when inserted into the rotation on May 2. The 6-2 right-hander tossed 27.2 scoreless innings to begin the 09 season, which ranks third among all RiverDog pitchers since the team became a Yankees affiliate in 2005.
Noesi's 2.42 ERA is eighth-best in the SAL while notching 57 strikeouts in only 52 innings of work.
Switch-pitcher Venditte has been solid in his first full season of professional baseball, converting 18 of 20 save opportunities, which not only leads the league, but is seven more than his closest competitor. A former standout at Creighton University, Venditte fashions a 2-1 record and a 0.71 ERA. The Omaha, Neb. native has permitted only two earned runs in 25.1 innings while walking only one batter and fanning 38. In his pro career, Venditte has converted 41 of his 43 save opportunities.
Greenville leads the Southern Division with five players selected, while Charleston and Savannah each have four players honored. The Lakewood BlueClaws of the Northern Division led all squads with six players selected.
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