BJ All-Stars Relish Playing at the K

Center Stage - All-Star Game MVP John Lozano Jr. tossed a ceremonial first pitch prior to the Royals-Rangers game July 24 at Kauffman Stadium.
Center Stage – All-Star Game MVP John Lozano Jr. tossed a ceremonial first pitch prior to the Royals-Rangers game July 24 at Kauffman Stadium.

The J All-Stars trailed 4-3 going into the bottom of the seventh in the 48th annual Ban Johnson League All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium July 24.  The game started at 8:30 a.m. preceding the Royals-Rangers game at 1:15.

They scored five runs in that frame to win the All-Star Game 8-4 in the eight inning contest.

It was UMB Bank outfielder John Lozano Jr. who provided the winning hit, a two-run double that gave the J’s the 5-4 lead.

He was voted by league officials as the MVP of the All-Star Game.

“I had a 2-0 count and decided to take the ball the other way,” Lozano said.

He hit the ball down the right field line for the game-winner and the MVP award.

“It was an awesome feeling to find out I was the MVP,” he said.

He threw out a ceremonial first pitch before the Royals game with the Texas Rangers.

What about playing on a big league field?

“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Natural Baseball outfielder Jack Pauley was two-for-two with a double for the J All-Stars.

“It’s always a lot more fun when you do well in an event like this,” he said. “It was a great experience playing at Kauffman, especially closer to Royals game time. The crowd got a lot bigger and some of the Royals players started to come out and check out our game.”

Royals southpaw Danny Duffy was throwing a side session in the bullpen alongside BJ relievers who were warming up.  Third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert and designated hitter Kendrys Morales were among Royals players who interacted with the BJ stars.

Natural Baseball manager Brian Knippelmeyer was the manager for the J All-Stars while BJ Raiders manager Jake Bradshaw was at the helm for the B All-Stars.

“It was all for the players,” Knippelmeyer said. “It was a good experience for the players.”

Going into the bottom of the seventh, MSBL Royals third baseman Kenny Delaquila playing for the B team was the favorite for the MVP award. He was two-of-three with three RBIs.

“Before the game I was looking around thinking about what happened on this field in the past years,” he said. “Leading up to my first at bat I was still thinking about where I was. After the first inning, I settled down and just played baseball. I was fortunate to get two fastballs and put two good swings on them and my teammates were in scoring position both times.”

And he was impressed with the surroundings.

“Before the game I was warming up with my teammates from the MSBL Royals and was telling them – imagine 35,000 fans yelling down on you and having to play,” he said. “I couldn’t get over the fact that so much history was made on this field and also I was playing where (Mike) Moustakas plays at third.”

Milgram Mustang second baseman Chase Watt was two-for-two with a double for the B All-Stars.

“I played the game today as if it was the last game I will ever play,” he said.

He enjoyed the experience of playing at Kauffman Stadium.

“Playing in Kauffman is a true blessing to a die hard Royals fan and to be able to play in an atmosphere like this is more than what I thought. It was one intense experience,” he said. “I really do thank everyone who put together the event that took place and the league itself is pretty cool to give a young man a glimpse of a possible future.”

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