CT Tigers host NY-Penn League All-Star game
By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Norwich - posted Mon., Aug. 19, 2013
Tater the Gator made a guest appearance at Dodd Stadium Aug. 13, as the Connecticut Tigers hosted this year’s New York-Penn League All-Star game. The mascot for the former Norwich Navigators team came out of retirement to greet fans in the stands along with the current resident mascot, CT the Tiger, prior to the match between the National and American leagues’ top players.
A festive atmosphere prevailed at Dodd throughout the afternoon, as the stadium hosted open fielding and batting practice, a home run derby, autograph sessions and a pre-game party. Fans lined up for autographs from former baseball standouts like Jay Johnstone, a Manchester, Conn., native whose major league career spanned two decades, from 1966 to 1985.
Johnstone said that proceeds from his autograph session were earmarked for Hope4Heroes, the veterans’ assistance organization he serves as spokesperson. A Marine veteran himself, he said he served on board a ship during the Vietnam War, just prior to beginning his major league baseball career. “I know what it was like,” he said. “I have five friends from high school who are on that wall in Washington.” Visiting the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Washington, D.C., was “a very humbling and emotional experience. This is my way of giving something back,” he said.
The American League squad carried the day on the baseball field, pulling out a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the National League on the strength of a ninth-inning rally sparked by Ryan Huck. The Vermont Lake Monsters’ infielder smacked a home run out of the park to tie the game, and Claudio Batista of Mahoning Valley brought home the winning run courtesy of a single by Oscar Hernandez of Hudson Valley.
The home-team Tigers fielded three players in the American League all-star line-up: pitchers Zac Reininger and Jonathon Crawford and outfielder Ben Verlander. Among the standout players were a few names familiar to baseball old-timers: Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of Baseball Hall of Fame member Carl Yastrzemski, and Boog Powell, whose given name is Herschel and who, despite his longtime nickname, is not related to former Baltimore Oriole great Boog Powell.