BY ED WRIGHT
Aug. 1, 2010, 11:15 a.m.
A thick layer of clouds hovered over Eastern Michigan University's Oestrike Stadium Saturday night, but they couldn't stop the Stars from shining on the field below.
Sparked by a six-run first inning, the West team coasted to a big win in the inaugural GCYBSA 18U All-Star Game, but the lopsided score didn't put a damper on the excitement of playing in a Division 1 collegiate facility for the 54 participants.
The All-Stars were selected from the expanded league's 16 teams, seven of which consisted of Plymouth and Canton players. The remaining nine teams came surrounding communities, including Belleville, Livonia and Saline.
The All-Star game was the first of its kind for the GCYBSA, which wrapped up its regular season Thursday night with a pair of championship games.
The East threatened to take an early lead in the top of the first, loading the bases with nobody out when Brandon Small singled, Justin Small reached on an error and Cody Carrier registered an infield single.
But West starting pitcher Nick Hopson buckled down, retiring the next three batters, two via the strikeout route.
Rob Galanty ignited the West's six-run first inning when he lined a sharp single to right before stealing second and third. The only other hit of the frame for the winners was Michael Feeney's two-run single.
The West extended its cushion to 9-0 in the bottom of the second thanks to a run-producing single from Jeremy St. Laurent. The inning ended in spectacular fashion when the East left-fielder Kevin Murdoch made the defensive play of the game - a running grab in the left-center gap with the bases loaded.
The East got on the scoreboard with a pair of runs in the top of the third when Justin Millett and Chris Morales - both of whom reached on walks - scored on consecutive wild pitches.
The West put the game on ice with a six-run fourth, which was highlighted by John Slater's two-run single.
Matt Hagelin ripped a pair of sacrifice flies for the West.
The nine-inning game was watched by a large, enthusiastic crowd.
Ed Wright can be reached at (734) 453-1980 or email@example.com.
Kevin Murdoch (right) runs off the field with a teammate after making a spectacular catch to end the third inning. (Ed Wright photo)
Nick Hopson pitched a scoreless first inning for the West. (Ed Wright photo)
The West's Dan Slater laced a first-inning pitch that was speared by the East team's shortstop. (Ed Wright photo)
The East's Justin Millett slides into home ahead of the tag by Chris Clardy. (Ed Wright photo)
Jimmy Ahearn pitched an inning for the East. (Ed Wright photo)
The West's Patrick Liedel scored on a wild pitch in the second inning. (Ed Wright photo)