The 12th installment of the ABCCL All-Star game was less a vehicle to honor the 50 ballplayers named to the Yogi Berra and Larry Doby squads, but more to honor the life of Captain Ryan K. Ianelli.
Ianelli, a former ABBCL All-Star outfielder in 2005 and standout athlete at Oral Roberts University, was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan on September 28, 2011. The late marine pilot’s parents, who were in attendance to receive a plaque and flag from the VFW Post 35 of Linden, couldn’t think of better way to pay homage to their son. The game was played on the campus of Kean University on Monday afternoon.
“There’s no better way to honor Ryan than to have this game played and named in his honor,” explained Donna Ianelli. “This is precious, and we’ll cherish it… The Bible says ‘I will honor those who honor me,’ and that’s what’s happening here today.”
“There’s been so many honors from his high school, from his university, and now from this league,” she continued. “He loved playing for the ABCCL. And I used to love traveling out to his games, because I got to spend all that time in the car with him. So it was wonderful to travel out here for this game and sort of relive those memories.”
“We’re humbled and honored at all of the honors Ryan has received,” said Mrs. Ianelli in closing. “I believe Ryan was here today, looking down at this game and smiling…and I know he’d say ‘Glory to God.’ He loved the lord, he loved his country, and he loved baseball.”
And baseball was most definitely played with several Shore Conference alumni penciled into both the Larry Doby and Yogi Berra lineups, resulting in the former defeating the latter, 4-1.
After reaching on a ball that skinned his jersey top, Seton Hall University corner-man and right-handed hurler Connor Delapine (Middletown North) opened the scoring in the bottom of the second, crossing the plate for the Larry Doby squad on a sacrifice fly off the bat St. Peter’s University-product Matt Speckman.
“I came out and tried to do exactly what got me here,” said Delapine. “Plate appearances are always limited in these All-Star games so I wanted to try to spark the team whenever I had a chance to have an impact.”
The score would stand at 1-0 until Delapine stepped to the dish again in the bottom half of the fourth inning, drilling an opposite field ground-rule double deep to the gap in right centerfield. Delapine would be lifted for a pinch runner, Delaware State University’s Tommy Dill, who came around to score on an RBI single to the right side by Speckman. It was his second RBI of the game, which would earn the outfielder the team’s MVP award.
The Yogi Berra team MVP would be awarded to St. Peter’s University outfielder Matt Mancini (Toms River North) who collected three hits in four trips to the plate, including a pair of doubles, as well as a stolen base.
“It’s an honor to win this award amongst all this talent,” said Mancini. “It feels really good. It’s an All Star game so I was out here relaxed and having fun and trying to do well, and it happened today.”
The Yogi Berra All Stars would push a run across in the top of the seventh after a leadoff double by Freddy Prince (University of The Ozarks) and an RBI single by Lincoln University’s (Texas) Jonathan Grishman, which made the score 2-1.
However, the Larry Doby outfit would answer in its half of the seventh after Bucknell University’s Will Mooney reached first on error to lead off the frame, eventually coming around to score on an Anthony Cirillo (St. Joseph’s University) sacrifice fly, putting the score at 3-1.
The game would be played through nine full innings so all participants would get a chance to play and in its half of the ninth inning Larry Doby would make increase its lead to 4-1 with an RBI single by Jonathan Benitez.