All-Star Games will be greatest collection of Alaska talent
Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 21, 2020
The greatest collection of Alaska baseball talent ever assembled on one field will take place at Mulcahy Stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday nights when the Legion Legends face off against the Alliance All-Stars.
It’s the best players from the past against the best players from today in a unique two-game series to showcase Alaska baseball.
“I’m excited to play,” said former Service star Jake Ridley. “I have a lot of great memories with the guys on my team. I'm most looking forward to the whole atmosphere of Mulcahy. As far as baseball in Alaska, nothing beats Mulcahy Stadium.”
First pitch each night comes at 6:30 p.m.
There will be five MLB draft picks on the field in Jonny Homza (2017), Corey Madden (2006), Anton Maxwell (2007), Levi Robinson (2002) and Johnny Meszaros. (2013).
Six Gatorade Player of the Year recipients in Leland Wilson (2020), Jacob Woodall (2019), Homza (2016, 2017), Adam Manzer (2011), Maxwell (2003) and Madden (2001).
You want State Tournament MVPs? There are five; Taylor Reed (2002), Madden (2003), Maxwell (2004), Trevor Harrison (2005) and A.J. Hull (2012).
Four Cook Inlet Conference Players of the Year in Dalton Chapman (2014), Willy Homza (2015), Jonny Homza (2017) and Woodall (2019).
Five Gold Gloves Award winners in Ridley (2012), Parker Johnson (2017), Danny Mascelli (1997), Julito Frazzini (2015) and Jeremy Wylie (2000).
Big Sticks? We got Kyle Madden (1999), Garrett Brown (2012) and Willie Paul (2007).
There are Top Pitcher Award selections Brody Jessee (2019), Nick Nading (2005) and Raleigh Pigg (2016).
Throw in Matson Invitational MVP Ronan Klancher (2015) and State JV Tournament MVP Max Costello (2014).
And, finally, all-state studs Taylor Nerland (2000), Louis Nance (2006), Tommy Koloski (2016), Joe Fitka (2014), Tom Bowe (2014), James Arend (2018) and Alex Alvarez (2019).
Fitka played at Chicago State University is one of six Alaskans to throw a 9-inning complete game at the NCAA D1 level.
These are some of the biggest names in Alaska baseball dating to the 1990s.
Mascelli, 41, will be among the oldest players on the field.
“At my age, I feel honored to play with all these young players, majority that I have coached or coached against,” said the former Bartlett star. “From when I moved up to Alaska and started playing in 1996, playing with, watching, coaching these players and now to have an all-star game with the different decades is a real cool thing for Alaska baseball.”
The Legion Legends are managed by longtime Alaska Baseball Academy coach Tony Wylie, who selected which former players would participate.
Former South star Parker Johnson hasn’t played in a baseball game since March when COVID stopped his season at Indiana Wesleyan University.
“I’m looking forward to getting back on the field and I think everyone else is too because for most of us it’s been quite a while since we played in a game,” he said. “I think the environment will be laid back but competitive; everyone is just gonna enjoy being back out on the field and playing the game we all share a love for.”
Who is the player most guys are excited to see play in person?
“Well the obvious is Jonny Homza,” Mascelli said.
Homza, 20, was a fifth-round draft pick in 2017 by the San Diego Padres. Taken 138th overall, he is the second-highest draft pick from Alaska.
Homza is playing his best baseball right now. With Class-A Tri-City of the Northwest League, Homza caught a no-hitter and hit a grand slam for his first playoff hit. Then he went to the Australian Baseball League and became the first Auckland Tuatara batter to go 5-for-5 in a game on his way to hitting a career-best .287 in 39 games.
Homza has made a terrific transition from the infield to behind the plate and shown patience and polish at the dish, with his .328 career on-base percentage ranking sixth all-time among Alaskans to play pro ball.
In terms of pitching, the most anticipated player people want to see is 25-year-old rocket right-hander Johnny Meszaros, who throws in the upper 90s. The former MLB draft pick has the makeup of a pro pitcher. Think Gerrit Cole.
In March, Meszaros flew to Florida and had a successful tryout with the Houston Astros organization. But then COVID hit and shut down everything, leaving Meszaros to have to wait for next year.
Still, even for a guy flirting with a pro career, Meszaros still gets a little giddy when he thinks about being on the field with the greatest collection of Alaska baseball talent every assembled.
“Being on a team with guys you grew up hearing about and playing against is a unique experience I’m happy to be a part of,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing the current all-star players and seeing how they go about the game. It’ll be fun.”