It was a picturesque day for the Northwest League’s first All-Star Game since 2004. The sun was shining, Everett Memorial Stadium was near capacity and, most importantly, the best talent in the Northwest League was on the field.
The all-day event kicked off with an All-Star luncheon at the Tulalip Casino where Mariners’ general manager Jack Zduriencik was the guest speaker. The festivities then moved to Everett Memorial Stadium, where a crowd of 3,818 took in a home run derby, followed by a back-and-forth all-star game.
Tri-City Dust Devils’ outfielder Sean Dwyer took home the home run derby trophy with five total long balls between two rounds. Everett Aquasox slugger Phillips Castillo launched some of the longest home runs of the event, but only hit one in the final round, finishing second.
After about an hour of live music blaring in from the concourse, the game got underway with Aquasox starter and the NWL’s ERA leader Lars Huijer on the mound. Huijer pitched one of the better innings of the night, simply by not giving up a run. He was one of the North’s three pitchers who didn’t.
The lack of pitching led to a high scoring game. The South made a ninth inning comeback to win the game, 8-7. Salem-Keizer Volcanoes right hander Raymundo Montero got the win for the South, while Aquasox pitcher Jose Valdivia took the loss.
A couple of Mariners 2013 draft picks made an impact in the game. Shortstop Jack Reinheimer was one of three Aquasox to start the game and went 2-5 while playing spectacular defense.
“It was an unbelievable experience. I just tried to soak it all in,” Reinheimer said. “When you’re playing with a bunch of guys that is as talented as this group of guys, it’s just a blast.”
Justin Seager joined him on the roster as the starting designated hitter. Despite losing the game, he says he still had a great time taking it all in.
“It couldn’t have been written any better; it was my first year playing…and I got lucky enough to be named to the all-star team,” he said. “It was a perfect storm having it here.”
The Seagers made it a week trip, coming out from North Carolina to watch Justin in the NWL All-Star Game and Kyle take on the Blue Jays in Seattle.
“Right when I found out [I had made the all-star team], [my parents] got online and found some tickets,” Justin said. “We watched Kyle together Monday night and they’re watching me tonight.”
He didn’t disappoint in front of his folks, going 1-3 and playing the whole game.
Though they lost the game, Reinheimer and Seager offered the same sentiment. You haven’t seen the last of them. Both hope to make many more all-star games in his career.