The 28th Annual Howard E. Deppe All-Star Baseball Classic was played Saturday at Limeport Stadium, with a team comprised primarily of players from the Lehigh Valley Conference (Red team) downing a team assembled generally from teams in the Colonial League (Blue team), 11-4.
The game raises money for the American Cancer Society and also provides a final high school memory for graduating seniors from area schools. Easton's Nick Beinlich was chosen as the Outstanding Player of the game for the Red team as he found ways to contribute throughout the game.
Beinlich drew a walk in the first inning and stole two bases before scoring on an RBI single as the red team grabbed an early 4-0 lead. Later in the game, Beinlich doubled to contribute again to the offense. With his team holding a 4-2 edge, Beinlich came on to pitch two perfect innings, striking out three hitters.
Catasauqua's Zac Edwards picked up two hits, two RBI and a stolen base and was chosen as the Outstanding Player of the Game for the Blue squad.
"I was a little surprised, but I'm just grateful to receive the award," said Edwards. "It's great, because it benefits beating cancer and it's great just to come out and get to play against these guys."
Northwestern's Alex Smith took part in the game and was happy with the experience.
"It was a blast, because we get to face kids that we usually don't face and it helps us out individually and it's just really fun," explained Smith. "It was all just for a lot of fun and it doesn't really matter whether you win or lose, because it's for a good cause."
The event also featured a pre-game hitting contest, where contestants were awarded points for how far they were able to hit each of 10 pitches. The hitting contest was won by Northwestern's Richard Perry, who got the nod by two points.
"I felt pretty good after my round, but I didn't necessarily expect to win," said Perry. "There were a lot of batters and they're all pretty good, so I'm happy for it."
Even though the game didn't end with a close score, players from both teams mentioned the outcome didn't matter and that it was a great opportunity to play and benefit a charity.
"The game was good. Playing the LVC, it was good competition. It was fun to come out and participate with your friends and play baseball," said Perry, who will attend Lehigh-Carbon Community College to study engineering.
The game featured a unique way of involving literally every player. The batting order included every player on the roster and they hit in the order of their jersey number. Players were also allowed to be reinserted defensively throughout the game.
Local players who were selected to play on the game were Northwestern's Parry and Smith; Palmerton's CJ Cressman, Lee Kuntz and Cody Peters; and Northern Lehigh's Cody Hallman, Ryan Martinez, Kristopher Seiler and Drake Steele.
Because of PIAA rules, players from schools that are involved in the PIAA Tournament were ineligible to play, keeping players from Parkland and Salisbury on the sidelines.