The Texas Collegiate League announced Saturday the rosters for the 2015 TCL All-Star Game. The Victoria Generals will host the event on Tuesday, July 7, at Riverside Stadium.
The league will maintain the same North-South format used last season, with the host Generals teaming up with the Acadiana Cane Cutters and Woodlands Strykers to form the South squad. The North side will be comprised of representatives from the Brazos Valley Bombers, East Texas Pump Jacks, and Texas Marshals.
The game will feature many of the league’s top performers through the first half of the season. Seven TCL Players or Pitchers of the Week will appear in the contest. Hitters with the six best batting averages, the top three home run totals, and six highest RBI figures were all selected for the event. They’ll be joined by pitchers with the top five win totals, the six best strikeout counts, and the seven lowest ERA figures.
The Bombers, who captured the first-half title after winning back-to-back TCL championships, lead all teams with 12 all-stars. They’ll be guided by head coach Curt Dixon, who will manage the North team. The Generals will send out nine all-stars for the home crowd, the largest contingent on the South. Victoria head coach Michael Oros will captain the South roster.
Two all-stars will be making their second appearance in the TCL’s marquee event, both of them outfielders for the Bombers. Blake Kopetsky will start his second All-Star Game, although his first was two years ago. Matt Hilston, a starter in last year’s TCL All-Star Game, is a reserve this time around.
The South’s starting infield begins with Strykers catcher Jerry Murillo, the league leader with four home runs. Victoria’s Matt Smith, fifth in the league with a .324 batting average, will be at first base, with teammate Jonathan Reyes and his league-leading 19 walks at second base. At third base is Taylor Braley, who helped lead Acadiana to a playoff spot with a .313 average, good for eighth in the TCL. Right behind Braley with a .307 batting average is the South’s starting shortstop, The Woodlands’ Les Miles.
The North starting infield has a distinct Brazos Valley flavor. At catcher is Henri Lartigue, who is batting .310 and slugging .571 this season. He’ll be joined by teammate Geonte Jackson, the league’s leading hitter all summer with a .414 average. The left side of the infield will be manned by Bombers as well, with Garrett Benge at third base and Trent Goodrich, who is tied for fourth in the TCL with 16 RBI, at shortstop.
The lone holdout in the North infield is East Texas second baseman Nick Roark, who is hitting .385 since joining the Pump Jacks.
The South’s starting outfield consists of a pair of Cane Cutters complemented by a General. Acadiana outfielder Zak Katsulis, who is second in the league with a .368 average, will be joined by teammate James Ziegler, who is tied for the league lead with 19 RBI, tied for second with three homers, and fourth in hitting at .338. They’ll share the outfield with Bryce Brandl, who leads Victoria with 11 RBI.
Kopetsky, who is batting .333 since rejoining the Bombers, will be joined in the North’s starting outfield by a pair of Pump Jacks in the top-four in the league in stolen bases. James Lear, an All-TCL outfielder last summer who is batting .288 with 13 steals, will make his way to Victoria with T.J. Friedl, a .306 hitter with 12 steals and three triples.
Brazos Valley catcher Tyler Lawrence and Strykers outfielder Mitch Henshaw will start opposite each other at designated hitter.
The South reserves include two members of the Strykers, infielder Nate Van Dyke and outfielder Garrett Lozano. First baseman Adam Yacek, who is tied with Cane Cutters teammate Ziegler for the league lead in RBI, and Victoria catcher Ryan McRanie round out the South’s bench.
Texas catcher Mitchell Andrews has caught ten runners trying to steal in 13 games to earn his spot as the North’s backup backstop. East Texas infielder Dylan Mecham, who is third in the league with a .339 average, and Brazos Valley infielder Jimmy Norris, a .290 hitter who is second in the TCL with 15 steals, join Hilston and his 16 RBI as North reserves.
The South pitching staff will be led by Acadiana righty Daniel Martinez, who is 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA after earning victories in his last five starts, and Generals lefty Nolan Trabanino, who is 2-0 with a 0.40 ERA in three starts. Scott Szush was voted top reliever after posting a 0.68 ERA in nine appearances for the Cane Cutters.
The South bullpen will feature a pair of Strykers in Blake Glauben, who is second in the league with 27 strikeouts, and Bryce Tomlin, who has 23 whiffs in 20 innings. Filling out the bullpen will be a quartet of Generals: Brett Burrington, Dan Rankin, Stuart Spring, and Lance Moskowicz.
The North contingent is led by Bombers right-hander C.J. Gregory, the TCL’s leader in both wins (six) and ERA (0.39). From the left side comes Franklin Miller, who is seventh in the league with a 1,67 ERA while going 2-0 for the Pump Jacks.
The bullpen has contributors from all three North teams. The Marshals pair of Austin Hilton and Dylan Porter both rank among the league leaders with 25 strikeouts. Bombers hurlers Brandon Pennington (1.17 ERA), Nick Jones (1.25 ERA), and Dakota Mekkes (2.16 ERA) all have an ERA under 2.25.
The North bullpen is rounded out by a pair of Pump Jacks. Tyler Adams is tied with Pennington for the league lead with five saves, and John Caskey is among the top-five in wins (four), strikeouts (25), and ERA (0.90).
Fans and all-stars alike will delight in the TCL Home Run Derby, which will be held prior to the All-Star Game on Tuesday. One participant from each TCL team will participate in this fan favorite event.
Last year’s TCL All-Star Game was won by the North, 7-3. G.R. Hinsley of the host Bombers went 2-for-3 with a solo home run to take home MVP.
For more information on the 2015 TCL All-Star Game and to purchase tickets, visit www.victoriagenerals.com or contact the Generals at (361) 485-9522.