U.S. team beats World squad in Futures Game
It has been an eventful past few days for Bowie Baysox infielder Ryan Mountcastle, one of the top prospects in the Baltimore Orioles minor league system.
Mountcastle was in Trenton, New Jersey, on Wednesday for the Double-A Eastern League All-Star Game. Mountcastle then headed to Reading, Pennsylvania, to play for Bowie on Thursday and Friday, before coming to the nation’s capital Saturday to prepare for the 2018 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park.
Mountcastle, 21, was retired in both at-bats Sunday for the U.S. team, which won 10-6 despite two homers from Dodgers prospect Yusniel Diaz of the world team in a game with some of the best minor league stars.
“It is an honor just to be here with these guys,” said Mountcastle, who is hitting .314 for Bowie. “It is the best competition; you can’t ask for more.”
The two Nationals prospects in the game both came off the bench.
Double-A Harrisburg shortstop Carter Kieboom, 20, an infielder for the U.S. team, got a nice round of applause from Nationals fans when he came to bat in the last of the seventh against Phillies prospect Adonis Medina.
Kieboom struck out, but the U.S. took a 7-6 lead as Jo Adell scored on a wild pitch with the next batter, Rockies prospect Brendan Rodgers, at the plate. Later in the inning, Mets prospect Peter Alonso crushed a two-run homer to left to make it 9-6. It was the eighth homer of the game.
Adell drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth for a 10-6 cushion.
Nationals prospect Luis Garcia, 18, an infielder for Single-A Potomac, grew up in the Dominican Republic and was signed by Washington as a non-drafted free agent in 2016. He was a reserve for the world team.
The U.S. took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Tampa Bay prospect Nate Lowe, a Norfolk, Virginia, native, had an RBI single to drive in Rodgers.
The world team tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the second on a homer by Kansas City outfield prospect Seuly Matias. Luis Basabe, a White Sox prospect from the Dominican Republic, blasted a two-run shot to right field in the third to give the world a 3-1 lead.
Blue Jays prospect Danny Jansen and Pirates prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a pair of two-run homers in the fourth as the U.S. came back for a 5-3 lead.
The world tied the game at 5-5 in the fifth on a two-run homer by Diaz. The U.S. grabbed the lead again in the sixth as Reds prospect Taylor Trammell hit a solo homer to make it 6-5.
Diaz hit his second homer, a solo shot in the seventh, to tie the score at 6-6.
The game was a homecoming of sorts for Steve Mountcastle, Ryan’s father, who played golf at George Mason University in Fairfax. He was at the game to see his son, along with about 10 other family members.
While Bowie is the closest minor league stadium to Nationals Park, the other Orioles prospect in the Futures Game grew up a very long way from the nation’s capital.
Single-A Frederick Keys pitcher Alex Wells began playing baseball at the age of 9 in Newcastle, Australia.
“It is pretty surreal actually, to be a young kid from Australia and here for the Futures Games,” said Wells, who retired the only two batters he faced. “It is unreal.”
The other player from Australia was Minnesota Twins pitching prospect Lewis Thorpe. Thorpe played on the Australian national team with Lachlan Wells, the twin brother of Alex and also a Twins prospect.
Alex Wells grew up as a fan of Greg Maddux, a star pitcher for the Atlanta Braves in the 1990s. Mike Maddux, Greg’s brother, was the Nationals’ pitching coach last season.
Wells played last season with the Delmarva Shorebirds in Salisbury, Maryland. Now he is about 40 miles northwest of the District in Frederick.
“It is nice to be close to the big league club (in Baltimore). On days off you can watch an (Orioles) game,” Wells said.
So what is baseball like in Australia?
“It is definitely getting stronger,” Wells said. “Not quite at the level of the U.S. yet. Our junior national and men’s senior teams are getting stronger.”