FORT MILL TOWNSHIP --
As the Charlotte Knights head into the mid-season break this week, three of their own will head to Buffalo to participate in the Triple-A All-Star game.
Left-handed pitcher Charlie Leesman, along with position players Dan Johnson and Josh Phegley, were chosen to represent the Knights. The 2012 Triple-A All-Star Game will be played Wednesday at Coca-Cola Field and features the International League All-Stars against the Pacific Coast League All-Stars.
Leesman, 25, is 7-7 in 18 starts this season with a 2.61 ERA. Last season, while with Double-A Birmingham, Leesman was a Southern League Mid-Season All-Star.
Johnson, 32, was elected to start at third base. Currently, Johnson is hitting .276 with 21 home runs and 62 RBI in 90 games. In 2010, Johnson participated in both the Triple-A All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. He won the Home Run Derby in Lehigh Valley and at the end of the season, after hitting .303 with 30 home runs and 95 RBIs for Durham and was named the MVP of the International League.
Johnson is trying to repeat history by participating in this year’s Home Run Derby as well. He is second in the IL in home runs and RBIs, first in games played (90), first in on-base percentage (.419), fifth in slugging percentage (.545), third in runs scored (53) and first in walks (74). He is the only active IL player with 20 or more home runs. The current IL leader in home runs is former Knights slugger Brad Eldred, who has 24, and is now playing in Japan after beginning the season with Toledo. Phegley, 24, is currently hitting .266 with one home run and 30 RBIs in 72 games for the Knights.
Earlier this season, the Indiana native had a 13-game hit streak in April and finished the month with a .382 batting average.
Before the break, Dallas McPherson homered, doubled and scored three runs Sunday as the Charlotte Knights defeated Norfolk 6-4 at Knights Stadium to enter the All-Star break with a three-game lead over the Tides.
Hector Gimenez also homered for the Knights (50-42), who endured an hour and a half rain delay after the fourth inning.
Norfolk cut into a 4-0 Charlotte lead after the delay on Nate McLouth’s three-run home run. The Knights kept the Tides from tying the game when right fielder Connor Jackson threw out Bill Hall trying to score from second to end the inning.
Charlotte went ahead 5-3 on McPherson’s home run in the sixth and added another run later in the inning when Jim Gallagher scored from first on a throwing error by Tides pitcher Brad Bergeson.
Donnie Veal (4-3) pitched two hitless innings in relief to pick up the victory.
Before Sunday’s game, Knights right-hander J.R. Ballinger was transferred to Class A Winston-Salem. Ballinger allowed five runs and walked three in 32/3 innings of relief in Saturday’s 10-6 loss to Norfolk.
Once the All-Star break is finished the Knights will try to continue its hold of first place in the South Division where they were 50-42 through Sunday.
The All-Star break was in the middle of a nine-game home stand for the Knights, who will play a four-game set at home with division rival Durham when the schedule resumes.
The Knights attracted one of its biggest crowds of the season this past week for its annual Fourth of July game against Gwinnett. A crowd of 14,206 saw the Knights fall 6-2 to the Braves.
The Charlotte Observer contributed.
|KNIGHTS 6, TIDES 4|
|Hoes lf||4||1||1||0||Kuhn lf||3||0||0||0|
|McLouth cf||4||1||2||3||Garcia 2b||3||0||0||1|
|Ford dh||4||1||2||1||Johnson dh||4||0||1||0|
|Hall 3b||3||0||1||0||Jackson rf||4||0||0||0|
|Waring 1b||4||0||1||0||McPhrsn dh||3||3||2||1|
|Hoffmnn rf||4||0||1||0||Gimenez c||3||1||1||2|
|Davis ss||4||0||1||0||Baisley 3b||4||0||1||1|
|Thomas c||3||1||0||0||Gallaghr cf||2||1||1||0|
|Joseph ph||1||0||0||0||Olmedo ss||3||1||1||0|
E- Bergesen, Garcia, Baisley. DP- Charlotte 2. LOB- Norfolk 6, Charlotte 7. 2B-Hall, McPherson, Baisley, Olmedo. HR- McLouth, Ford, Gimenez, McPherson. S-Kuhn. SF-Garcia. CS-Ford.
HPB- Hall (by Zaleski).
Umpires- HP: David Soucy. 1B: Marcus Pattillo. 3B: Ben May.
T- 2:21. A- 1,293.