Tyler Pittman will never forget his first Ban Johnson League All-Star Game.
The 2016 graduate of Blue Springs South High School not only appeared in the game, he was a standout for the winning B team as he collected a hit, stole two bases and drove in a run in a 10-1, nine-inning victory over the J squad.
It was the 50th anniversary game, and each have been hosted by the Kansas City Royals. The first four were played at Municipal Stadium and the last 46 at Kauffman Stadium.
“This is awesome, just awesome,” said Pittman, as he received congratulatory handshakes from his teammates. “You look around and you see some of the best baseball players in Kansas City.
“And to play with them, on the 50th anniversary is something I will always remember.”
Pittman was the first B player to reach as smashed a line drive past B third baseman Jake Lufft in the second inning. He stole a base but was stranded at third.
The BJ Raiders center fielder, who had one putout in the game, singled, drove in a run and added a second stolen base in a five-run fifth inning that blew the game open for the winning team.
“When we got the early lead, I felt comfortable because I knew all the arms we had on the mound,” said Pittman, who played collegiately at Kansas City Kansas Community College but is moving on to Pittsburg State in the fall. “They have some big bats on the other team, but we were able to quiet them down with our pitchers.”
One of the biggest bats belonged to NKC Apartments Giants third baseman and pitcher Jake Lufft, who walked and struck out in two plate appearances (please see related story).
“I had a blast,” said Lufft, who was playing for the first time this season with his older brother Jeremy. “Games like this don’t mean that much – sure, you want to win, but playing third base with Jeremy playing shortstop was pretty amazing.”
Lufft even pitched an inning, allowing a run and two hits in the top of the eighth inning.
“He gave up a run, but I think he was throwing as hard as any pitcher on either team,” Jeremy Lufft said. “You want to win any time you play, but this was just a great experience for both of us and our family.”
Garrett McGowan, a 2016 graduate of Blue Springs High School, hit cleanup for the B All-Stars.
“We didn’t do much offensively,” said McGowan who had a strikeout and a groundout, “but this was still an amazing experience. It’s something I will never forget. I got to represent YBC Baseball and play with, and against, the best players in Kansas City.”
Truman High School graduate Rorey Combs, who plays for Regal Plastic, had one of the J All-Stars’ five hits in two at-bats off the bench.