ALL-STAR WEEK: Robertson earns MVP while North gets sweep
By Tim Gayle
His night started with a strikeout on three pitches.
And while the next at-bat didn’t come until the seventh inning, T.R. Robertson made the most of his night in the Alabama All-Star Sports Week baseball game, collecting a hit in his final two at-bats while playing error-free ball at four positions in the field to collect most valuable player honors for the South squad on Tuesday night at Riverwalk Stadium.
“I was fighting,” he said. “It wasn’t the solid hits that I wanted but it went better than I thought. I’m just happy I got to be out here.”
The St. James senior-to-be was the only Capital City product selected to play in the game, although his coach, Keith Lucky, was an administrative coach for the North. LAMP coach Chad Smith was one of two coaches for Robertson’s South squad and Trinity coach Ken Whittle was the administrative coach for the South.
All-star rules differ in that all 17 South players were given an at-bat and the order continued intact in the second game, which meant Robertson would get an at-bat in the second, then in the seventh, then in the fourth inning of the second game. In the seventh, he bounced a ball back up the middle, went to second on a wild pitch, to third on a sacrifice fly and home on a single for the South’s final run. In the fourth, he hit a hard single between shortstop and third for an infield single.
More impressively, and the deciding factor in his MVP selection, Robertson played left field and center field in the first game, then started at second base in the second game before moving to center field and then to third base, never leaving the field in 14 innings.
“I thought I was just going to play outfield the whole time, but in the second game (Smith) had me down for infield and outfield, so I was like, ‘OK,’” he said. “I play all the time, so it wasn’t a big deal. I prefer shortstop but we had a really good shortstop. I love the infield and center field is my favorite (position) in the outfield.”
The North continued their dominance of the South, winning the first game 9-3 and then sweeping the competition with two runs in the top of the seventh for a 3-2 victory in the second game as well.
“I thought we played really good,” Robertson said. “Then in the last inning, the ump called a balk (to bring in the tying run) which I don’t think he should’ve done. But I thought we played really well as a team, for the first time ever playing together. It was a good experience.”
Garrett Bodine earned most valuable player honors for the North, scoring a run in the second inning of the first game to tie the game at 2-2, then driving in a pair of runs in the fifth with a triple to right center field. In the second game, he was hit by a pitch and later scored the North’s first run, then hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh to drive in the game’s winning run.
“I should have been out there that far,” Robertson said. “I saw the sign and he was throwing a curveball and I just got out there too far. But I was back. I was getting up like I safe and then he called me out.”