SAUGET, Ill. (WFIE) - Four players on the Evansville Otters roster have been selected as Frontier League All-Stars, the league announced Friday.
In a change of format, the All-Star Game will take place Wednesday, July 10 from Palisades Credit Union Park in New York as the Frontier League All-Stars will take on the Can-Am League All-Stars. The Rockland Boulders will host the festivities presented by Good Samaritan Hospital. This will mark the first time that these two Independent Professional leagues will face each other.
"The Can-Am League couldn't be prouder that we are hosting the Frontier League in the 2019 All Star Game,” Can-Am League Executive Director Kevin Winn said. “They bring 27 years of tradition with them as the oldest continuously operating independent league. I want to thank Commissioner Bill Lee, President Rich Sauget, all the Owners, Executives, Coaching Staff and Players. Two Premier Leagues facing off in a Premier Ballpark."
Voters in the league-wide process included broadcasters, general managers, field managers, coaches and local media.
"We are extremely pleased and excited to be playing the Can-Am League All-Stars,” Frontier League Commissioner Bill Lee said. “Everyone is looking forward to coming to the New York area. This is an unprecedented game for our League. We want to thank all the owners, teams and Executive Director Kevin Winn for making this possible. Above all, we want to thank Shawn Reilly and the entire Rockland Boulders staff for their hard work."
Last season, Evansville sent eight players to complete in the All-Star Game in the former Rookie against Experienced players format.
Position players Ryan Long, Carlos Castro, Rob Calabrese were selected from the Otters along with relief pitcher Taylor Wright.
“I’m happy and proud to be sending these four players to represent the Otters and the Frontier League at this year’s All-Star Game,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said.
Ryan Long, making his second All-Star appearance, was selected as a starter at third base for the Frontier League.
The reigning Frontier League Player of the Week is hitting .286 with a seven home runs, a league-leading 36 RBIs, 25 runs, 42 hits, and 11 doubles.
“Ryan is the best third baseman in the league and one of the top hitters,” McCauley said. “His numbers speak for themselves over the last few seasons since he joined the Otters.”
“I’m excited and feel honored to represent Evansville and the Otters in this year’s All-Star Game,” Long said. “There is a lot of talent in this league and it is going to be fun to square up against another league’s all-star team.”
Long’s seven home runs are tied for the league lead with four other players including Carlos Castro, who will be making his first All-Star Game appearance.
Castro entered Friday batting .286 with 19 RBIs, 10 doubles, 20 runs and 44 hits. Castro has also made some impressive defensively at first base.
“After last year’s struggles with injury, it’s nice to see Carlos have good health this season and receive this recognition,” McCauley said. “He is a true power bat.”
“His mother lives in Manhattan and this will be the first time she gets to see him play.”
“I feel great and honored to be chosen for the All-Star Game,” Castro. “I’m really excited that my mother will get to watch me play.”
“It was be the first time my mother gets to see me play baseball after living in Manhattan the last four years. It will be special.”
Catcher Rob Calabrese also made the Frontier League’s All-Star squad after appearing in 30 games for Evansville so far this season. He has a .293 average and 16 RBIs to go along with 14 runs, 10 doubles, and five home runs.
“Calabrese made huge strides offensively once given the chance to play every day,” McCauley said. “He’s showing that he is a complete catcher with his impressive receiving and throwing ability.”
“It’s an honor to be one of the few picked to play in the All-Star Game,” said Calabrese.
“It’s also pretty cool that it’s so close to home so my close friends and family can come see me play for the first time in a while. I’m looking forward to it!”
After losing a few All-Star caliber pitchers to affiliated baseball organizations, the Otters have shown the pitching depth this season.
Relief pitcher Taylor Wright was selected to his first All-Star Game in his first year with the Otters.
“I couldn’t be happier with Taylor’s selection to the All-Star Game,” McCauley said. “He is a testimony to hard work and dedication that is now paying off.”
“Taylor has thrown in many different roles for us and has excelled in each of them this season.”
Wright has impressed so far this season, posting a 1.11 ERA with four saves and 30 strikeouts in 24.1 innings pitched. In 17 games this season, Wright has allowed an earned run in only two games.
“It’s an honor to be included on the team,” Wright said. “I think having so many Otters on the team shows what a great job the organization does with helping their players succeed and get the most out of their abilities.”
All-Star events begin with the All-Star Charitable Luncheon featuring New York Yankees' broadcaster John Sterling on Tuesday, July 9. The Home Run Derby takes place that night and features former New York Yankees and Mets players Mookie Wilson, Jesse Barfield, and John Flaherty.
The Can-Am League vs. Frontier League All-Star Game presented by WMC Health/Good Samaritan Hospital is Wednesday, July 10. For tickets and additional information, please visit http://www.rocklandboulders.com/allstarsummer2019
The Otters will host their final home series before the All-Star break throughout the weekend, welcoming the River City Rascals to Bosse Field. Evansville will then make a six-game road trip to Gateway and River City before heading into the All-Star break.
To purchase a season ticket or group outing package, call (812) 435-8686 or visit the Bosse Field front office at 23 Don Mattingly Way, Evansville, Ind. The front office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m