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4 Suns rise to All-Star occasion

May 30, 1998

By BOB PARASILITI

Staff Writer

Baseball has two categories this time of year. Players are either all-stars or guys who get a three-day break.

Manager Marty Pevey is pretty happy he's one of four Hagerstown Suns representing the Northern Division in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Charleston, S.C., on June 16.

But at the same time, Pevey is also annoyed that second baseman Mike Young was one who will be on the mid-June vacation.

Pevey was elected coach for the North while pitchers Clayton Andrews and Matt McClellan and designated hitter Bobby Cripps were voted to the team. Meanwhile, Young was not one of the six infielders or utility players chosen for the 39th annual game which will be played at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Ballpark.

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"All three of our guys deserve it, but I'm really disappointed that Mike Young isn't there," Pevey said. "He's hitting around .300 and ranks up there in extra base hits and has done a good job playing second base. I think it's a gross oversight that he's not there."

The Northern All-Star team has veteran flavor to it. Asheville's Elvis Pena was elected the starting second baseman while Delmarva's Richard Paz was named one of the utility players. Both are playing for the second time in the league.

The three Suns who were selected rank highly in league statistics. Andrews, who was named the starting pitcher for the game, has led the league for most of the season.

McClellan has rated in the top 10 in ERA while Cripps has been one of the top home-run hitters in the league.

Andrews leads the SAL with 81 strikeouts and is fifth overall with a 2.42 ERA, which was as low as 1.64 before his last outing. He is 3-3, pitching 63 1/3 innings, allowing 51 hits and 17 walks.

The 19-year-old left hander was the third-round selection in Toronto's 1996 draft. He was 7-7 for the Suns last season.

"He has pretty much led the league in strikeouts and ERA all year," Pevey said. "If anyone deserves to be the starter for the game, he does."

McClellan has also been in the top 10 in ERA for most of the season. He is 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA in 54 innings, allowing 43 hits and 25 walks while striking out 58. The right-hander was Toronto's seventh-round pick in the 1997 draft.

"He's done very well for us, but he's made great strides this season," Pevey said. "He's learned how to hide the ball better and it is giving him better deception on the hitters."

Cripps has shown an explosive bat at times, as his three-run home run in Thursday's 5-2 win over Hickory proved. He is second in the SAL with 13 homers and leads the league with a .600 slugging percentage. Cripps, who came to the Toronto organization in the trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers for Otis Nixon, is hitting .264 with 27 RBIs.

"He used to hit to the opposite field all the time," Pevey said of the Canadian native. "He's just learning how to play. He's a 21-year-old player with a 14- or 15-year-old baseball mind just because he hasn't been able to play as much as other guys. He's one of the best prospects on the team, tool-wise."

Pevey, the Suns' first-year manager, will coach with Cape Fear manager Luis Doranta and Asheville's Ron Gideon. It's an assignment he's looking forward to.

"The three days off would be nice, but it's an honor," Pevey said. "Anytime you get a postseason accolade, it's an honor. The kids should be proud of this, but so should the coaches and managers."

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