LeDarious Clark figured he had the numbers to earn a coveted spot on the Northwest League All-Star roster.
That didn’t lessen the excitement when his selection became official Tuesday.
“I knew I had a pretty good start to my first pro ball season, so I knew I had the numbers, but it was also the fan vote,” said Clark, Spokane Indians center fielder and MVP candidate. … “Of course it made me feel good to be able to play in this game. There are a lot of good players in this league, so to be chosen to play in this game is an honor itself.”
“Pretty good start” qualifies as an understatement of all-star proportions. Though Friday, Clark led the league in runs (36), triples (five), total bases (92) and slugging percentage (.579), and was tied for the lead in home runs (eight). He ranked second in hits (51), fourth in stolen bases (18) and fifth in batting average (.321).
The 12th-round selection from the University of West Florida has produced these standout numbers despite encountering a 0-for-18 slump during Spokane’s five-game series at Hillsboro and a recent 2-for-30 skid.
The 21-year-old Clark and second baseman Dylan Moore are Spokane’s starters for Tuesday’s first All-Star Game matching the short-season Class A NWL and the rookie Pioneer League at Avista Stadium. Indians infielder Yeyson Yrizarri was selected as a reserve.
Indians players heard about the selections while on the bus traveling to play the Tri-City Dust Devils, although Yrizarri said he received word by text from a friend.
“My mother was so excited,” said Yrizarri, an 18-year-old second-year pro from the Dominican Republic. “I texted her and said, ‘Mom, I’m going to the All-Star Game.’ And then I told my brothers.”
Yrizarri ended June with a batting average of .190 but has boosted that to .287 with 43 hits.
Moore, who turned 23 today, was drafted in the seventh round out of Central Florida. He’s been a steady presence all season, noted for his hustle and hits in key situations.
“With a game (all-star) like this, it’s obviously a little looser, but when I’m out there I’m going to do everything I’ve been doing the whole season, to the best of my ability,” Moore said. “There’s no slowing down when I play.”
Through Friday, Moore ranked among the top 10 in league doubles (10), runs batted in (24) and slugging (.449), and is just out of the top 10 in total bases (62).
But the numbers will be put on hold Tuesday as the three Indians have fun, take in the festivities and meet players from both leagues.
“There will be a lot of competitive people in one atmosphere, which is good, and this place can create crazy, loud noise,” Moore said.
“I’ll wait to see what happens,” Yrizarri said. “It’s my first all-star game.”
Clark has the extra bonus of having his family in town from Mississippi.
“I’m just going to go out and play, have fun and enjoy,” Clark said. “I’m not going to try to take it too seriously because I’m not going to get (anything) from this right here, because I still have the season in front of me after the game. So I’ll just have to go out and enjoy it while I can.”
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