Kyle Wright was pretty confident from the instant the ball left his bat that something positive was going to happen.
With the North trailing 3-1 in Game 2 of Monday’s All-Star Sports Week baseball doubleheader, Wright stroked a game-changing, bases-loaded triple to center that helped his team secure a 13-5 victory to clinch a series sweep over the South at Riverwalk Stadium. The North All-Stars won the opener 6-0.
The hit also earned Wright North MVP honors.
“I had a feeling that it was going to be a single, so I knew I had scored two,” said the Buckhorn junior, who finished 1-for-2 with three walks. “When I saw it go by (the outfielder), I was like ‘Oh, thank God.’ I just kept on running.”
Wright’s three-run triple barely eluded the grasp of South center fielder Colton Thomas, and put the North ahead for good, 4-3.
“I came in trying to make a play on it,” said Thomas, a Marbury standout. “I thought I had it. I was right there on it. It just went under my glove — it happens.”
It was the second time in the nightcap that 6-foot-3 Wright made his presence felt.
The starting pitcher in Game 2, Wright faced trouble early as the South put runners on second and third with just one out. The Vanderbilt commitment answered by striking out Turner Vincent and getting Blake Johnson to ground out.
“I just decided to bear down,” Wright said. “Plus my defense helped me a good bit, so I am happy that we got out of it.”
Keegan Curtis was voted MVP for the South. The Davidson pitcher gave up two unearned runs and struck out four through two innings in Game 1. He was plagued by his defense, which committed four errors.
“To win this means a lot because I’ve put in a lot of hard work,” Curtis said. “This will be something that I will never forget. Being able to play with some of the best players in Alabama … was great. It’s a lifetime experience.”
Austin’s Peyton Miller launched a two-run homer in the fifth to increase the North’s Game 2 advantage.
The North pitching staff stole the show in the opener. Hurlers Jacob Walters (Thompson), Josh Rich (Spain Park), Tristan Wildra (John Carroll Catholic), Tyler Craft (Colbert County) and J.T. Thompson (Deshler) combined to allow just three hits in seven innings.
“The kids played great, and they did everything that we asked of them,” North coach Pat Hamrick said. “We had a lot of fun. They got the chance to showcase some of their abilities. It’s a great event to be around quality baseball players.”
Stanhope Elmore right-hander Blaine Milam gave up one unearned run in one inning of work, while Thomas went 0-for-2 with a walk, a steal and a strikeout.
“It was great coming out here to play with some of the best players in the state,” Thomas said. “It was a lot of fun. It was a great experience because it was good to play with some of these guys.”