Sports

Wong Starts for Team USA in All-Star Futures Game

July 8, 2012, 12:40 PM HST
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Hilo native Kolten Wong started at second base for Team USA Sunday at the SiriusXM Major League Baseball All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City, and made sure to leave a lasting impression for baseball fans who hope to see him again in a big-league ballpark.

The game was shown on ESPN2, and their cameras showed Wong before the game exiting the dugout and doing a backflip, reminiscent to baseball fans of the signature flip of legendary Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith.

On the field, Wong made his first play on defense in the very first inning. His Springfield Cardinals teammate, Oscar Taveras from the World team, hit a weak ground ball to Wong’s left. He easily fielded it and tossed it to first base for the second out of the inning.

Wong hit second in the batting order for Team USA, which was managed by legendary Kansas City Royals player George Brett. With one out in the bottom of the first, the Kamehameha-Hawaii graduate hit a slow ground ball to his World Team counterpart at second base, Jean Segura, for the second out of the inning.

In the third inning, Wong had another chance to hit with two runs already scored and a third just 90 feet away. Facing a 1-2 count, Wong hit a weak comebacker to pitcher Chris Reed. The British pitcher tried to look the runner at third, Billy Hamilton, back to his base, then spun and wildly threw his throw to first base in the dirt, bouncing into foul territory. Hamilton scored on the play, and Wong raced all the way to third base. He would score on a ground ball out from Wil Myers, knotting the game at four runs a piece.

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The broadcast team on ESPN2, Steve Berthiaume, Rick Sutcliffe, and Aaron Boone, noted Wong’s potential to make the Cardinals’ big league squad, calling him a “fast tracked” player. Boone elaborated on the broadcast during Wong’s first at-bat, saying it “won’t be long before he’s in an everyday lineup for the St. Louis Cardinals.”

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The University of Hawaii baseball star was taken out of the game after four innings of play, allowing George Brett to get as many guys as possible into the exhibition game. Wong finished the game batting 0-for-2 with a run scored.

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