Summit Christian Academy graduate Luke Moehle is playing American Legion baseball for the first time and the talented Blue Springs Post 499 Fike catcher has received a lot of interest from some local colleges.
He showed why he is coveted by some college coaches during the Zone 2 All-Star Game Sunday when he notched a double and three RBIs to earn Most Valuable Player honors and lead the American League to a 9-1 victory against the National League at Hidden Valley Park.
Moehle said he thought Gladstone Herrick Memorial Post 626 pitcher Ethan Fletchall had a good shot of being the MVP, but said he was honored when he found out he was chosen.
“It’s an awesome honor,” Moehle said. “It’s awesome to play with some of the best players around. I felt like a lot of these guys were just as deserving, if not more deserving (to earn MVP honors) than I was.”
Moehle drove in a run in the first run on a fielder’s choice ground ball as part of a three-run first inning. Fike outfielder Ross Greco, who reached on a wild pitch on a third strike, scored on an infield error. Lee’s Summit Outlaws infielder Justin Hopson lined an RBI single off the glove of a leaping Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s shortstop Jake Lufft to cap the three-run outburst.
Moehle then highlighted a two-run second inning when he drilled a double to deep to left-center field to drive in Lee’s Summit’s Jason Gonzalez, who had two singles. Greco crossed home on a seeing-eye single from Warrensburg’s Brodie Payne earlier in the frame.
“It was a fastball up, and it was something that I was looking for, and I jumped on it,” Moehle said of his double. “Sometimes I like to jump on the first pitch because it may be the best one you see.”
The American League took a 5-0 lead into the third inning and then added four more runs. Warrensburg’s Lane Hurley had an RBI single, Moehle, Lee’s Summit’s Jaxson Hill and Logan Adams drew bases-loaded walks against A’s pitcher Steven Orwick to make it 9-0.
That’s all the American League pitching staff would need as it only gave up two hits in nine innings. In fact, the American League had a combined no-hitter going into the seventh inning before A’s outfielder Ray Paniagua, who later scored on A’s second baseman Dustin Brewer’s groundout, laid down a bunt single down the third-base line.
Fike pitchers Scott Vestal and Noah Hensley, along with Outlaws pitchers Carter Bradford and Hopson, were a part of the stellar pitching performance.
“I think we all did pretty good and we all deserved a spot,” Hensley said. “Everyone played well and represented our teams well.”
Bradford, who had a scoreless inning and two strikeouts, was pleased with the way he pitched.
“I thought I pitched pretty well, and I was glad I kept the no-hitter going,” he said. “I just tried to attack the strike zone and get them down in the count.”
The Zone 2 All-Star Game gave players the opportunity to play with other athletes they normally play against, and Hensley was one who enjoyed the experience.
“It was cool to get to know some of the guys, and see what it’s like in their dugout, and they got to see what it’s like to play with us, too,” Hensley said. “This was fun, but I was kind of nervous.”
“It was fun,” he said. “It’s always different to have a mix up of things. I talked to the guys before the game to learn what (pitches) they have – what their fastball and what their breaking ball looked like. They did a pretty good job and made it easy on me.”