MONTGOMERY — The four Faribault Lakers at the Dakota-Rice-Scott vs. River Valley League All-Star Game certainly kept busy on Friday night at Memorial Park.
Charlie Lechtenberg and the other two managers had to keep tabs on getting everyone playing time, while catcher Dylan Valentyn started the game and was bullpen catcher as other pitchers warmed up. Third baseman Adam Kline had to wait for his chance to play, while all-star shortstop Joe Grote finished the game as all-star pitcher Joe Grote.
“I never thought I’d be hearing that ever,” Grote said with a laugh.
But overall, even in a 10-4 RVL win, it was a fun outing.
“It’s a cool night,” Lechtenberg said. “Just relax, not worrying about winning or losing. Just coming to hang out and play baseball.”
Grote started the game at shortstop and went 2 for 2 with a pair of singles through the left side. Earlier, he had been asked if he would pitch if needed, and he agreed. And when the ninth inning rolled around, he was called on to go out and get three outs in the top of the frame. He would have escaped without allowing any runs, but an error for what would have been the final out led to a five-run inning, capped by a home-run.
Valentyn, a first-time DRS all-star, went 0 for 1 with a walk and caught the first four innings. He was shuffling in and out of gear afterward, helping catch the pitchers warming up in the middle and late parts of the game.
“Definitely a cool experience being able to play with some of the best guys in the league and the RVL league as well,” he said. “Just a fun event, being able to get together and play some baseball.”
Kline, also making his first all-star appearance, went 0 for 1 with a walk and a run scored as part of a three-run DRS ninth. The only potential drawback was having to wait until the seventh to get in the game. By the time he took his first at-bat, it had been hours since he took batting practice.
“It’s kind of hard warming up and two hours you get in the game,” he said. “You try to do the best you can out there. It’s just a lot of fun; I can’t say that enough really. It’s just a lot of fun to be out there, and to get to know a lot of these guys a little better. It was just a lot of fun. That’s what this night was really about for us.”
It was the largest contingent of Lakers to make the trip, and for Grote, a three-time all-star, this was the best of all his appearances at the game.
“This is the most fun,” he said. “Got to make the start, it’s just cool to play with this group of guys. Such a good group of baseball players. So that was just fun to do. With Adam and Dylan, couldn’t ask for a better couple of guys to go with, and with Chuck coaching. It’s about as good as it gets.”