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O'Hearn, Legends have rough go in South Atlantic League All-Star game as South falls

The South Atlantic North All-Stars are 7-1-2 in the last circuit's last 10 All-Star Games after winning 7-5 Tuesday (Photo by Tracy Proffitt / Hickory Crawdads)

The South Atlantic North All-Stars are 7-1-2 in the last circuit’s last 10 All-Star Games after winning 7-5 Tuesday (Photo by Tracy Proffitt / Hickory Crawdads)


K.J. Woods of the Greensboro Grasshoppers likes the big stages.

Woods belted a two-run homer in Tuesday night’s South Atlantic League All-Star Game, lifting the North Division to a 7-5 win over the South, a team that included five Lexington Legends. The game was played at McCormick Field in Asheville, North Carolina.

“I love the spotlight,” Woods said. “I love the challenge.”

The 19-year-old homered twice against the parent Miami Marlins in a preseason exhibition game in early April in Greensboro.

“This was better because this was against someone from a different team,” he said of the All-Star smash. “Where was that during the season? … Against the Marlins, those don’t count. This one doesn’t count.”

The outfielder, who served as the North’s designated hitter, had a one-hop single off the right-field fence and was thrown out at second in the second inning before his fifth-inning shot off Lexington right-hander Zach Lovvorn.

“I heard the crowd when I hit it,” Woods said.

Woods, who has five homers in the regular season, didn’t go yard over his last 11 games of the season. When he arrived and saw the right-field wall at Asheville’s ballpark, he was pumped up.

Woods wasn’t alone in breaking a homer drought.

North right fielder Luke Tendler of Hickory unleashed a two-run shot in the second inning off Rome right-hander Caleb Beech. Tendler, who also has five homers so far this season, hasn’t homered in his last 47 regular-season games since an April 26 blast.

North second baseman Steve Wilkerson of Delmarva drilled a two-run, third-inning blast to right-center off Pedro Fernandez of Lexington. The Orioles prospect, who admitted he’s not exactly a power hitter, didn’t have a homer in the season’s first half.

Fernandez gave up three runs in the third inning. Another Legends’ pitcher, Zach Lovvorn, came on in the fifth and permitted two runs.

SAL home run leader Ryan O’Hearn won the pregame Home Run Derby representing the Legends, but was hitless in four at bats in the game. Fellow Legends Alfredo Escalerea and Elier Hernandez each went without a hit in two plate apperances.

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South third baseman Rafael Devers of Greenville drove in the first run with a first-inning groundout and teammate Javier Guerra collected an RBI double in the fourth.

The Top Star Award went to North shortstop Malquin Canelo of Lakewood. The Phillies prospect went 2-for-3 with a walk and reached base four times.

South starting pitcher Helmis Rodriguez of hometown Asheville gave up a single to Canelo, walked Wilkerson and uncorked a wild pitch before working his way out of the jam to the delight of the crowd.

The North improved to 7-1-2 in the league’s last 10 All-Star Games.

The Legends will be in Savannah Thursday to begin a five-game series. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

From South Atlantic League Communications

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