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Suns all set to shine like Stars

June 16, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

Four members of the Hagerstown Suns stand poised to give their all in a game which basically means nothing.

--cont from sports--

The four members - pitchers Clayton Andrews and Matt McClellan, designated hitter Bobby Cripps and manager Marty Pevey - have dreams of giving one of their best performances as a professional player, even though they won't be playing for any title or championship.

Still, when Hagerstown's foursome participates in tonight's 39th annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game at Reilly Stadium in Charleston, S.C., a lot of emotions and memories will be involved in a exhibition showcasing the best talent in the Single-A league.

"I want these guys to have fun and enjoy themselves," said Pevey, who will serve as the North's base coach. "Just don't take this too seriously. It's fun. It's just kind of a pickup game."

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But for Andrews, Cripps and McClellan, this is the first stop in a long line of professional goals.

Andrews will start for the North, giving him the chance to prove why he's one of the league's top pitchers.

"Getting selected is an honor, but being the starter is a great honor," Andrews said. "With the numbers I had, I expected to go. They voted me on the All-Star team to see what I can do."

What Andrews has done is record a 5-3 mark with a 2.05 ERA, the second best in the league. He leads the South Atlantic League with 109 strikeouts while walking just 19 in 83 1/3 innings.

"I'm approaching this like I'm going to pitch seven innings," Andrews said. "I'm not going to do anything different. It's going to be a good experience, playing with a lot of different guys from a lot of different teams."

For Cripps, being selected the North's designated hitter gives him the chance to show his talents while paying a dividend.

"This All-Star game is for my parents," Cripps said. "I'm fired up and happy, but they are happier about this than I am. Making an All-Star team is an accomplishment, but I wanted it for them. This will be for them, and so will my first game in the majors. Every other All-Star game will be mine."

Cripps' brash style has helped make him one of the league's top power hitters, with 17 home runs and 43 RBIs to go with a .279 average. He has definite plans for his appearance.

"I'm just going up there looking for first-pitch fastball and hitting it 450 feet," Cripps said. "I want to show them what I can do. There will be a lot of scouts there."

For McClellan, the spot on the All-Star team is proof he's on the right track.

"I'm excited because this is a big stride in my career," he said. "Last season was rough for me, but this year, consistency has been the key. I want to represent my team well."

McClellan was 2-5 with a 6.92 ERA for Medicine Hat last year, but has broken through as the Suns' fourth starter with a 4-2 record and a 3.04 ERA with 27 walks and 74 strikeouts in 71 innings. He is scheduled to pitch one inning in the game.

For Pevey, it will be his first experience as a coach to participate in an All-Star game. No matter how he looks at it, it's still an honor.

"This is great for me, but I'm more happy for the players and proud to be representing the Suns and the Blue Jays organization," he said.

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