Going into the 2018 New York-Penn League All-Star Game, Cyclones outfielder Ross Adolph said he wanted to do three things: have fun, enjoy the experience, and represent the Cyclones and Mets well.
Just like he’s done all season, the 21-year-old covered all three of his bases.
After going 2-for-3 with a home run, triple, and three RBIs, Adolph earned All-Star MVP honors in Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic, leading the South All-Stars to a 7-1 victory at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in State College, P.A.
Adolph became the first Cyclone in the game’s 14-year history to earn its MVP trophy. His third-inning blast made him the first Cyclone to hit a home run in an All-Star Game, too.
“I had no clue,” Adolph said when asked if he knew there was an All-Star Game MVP award. “Someone told me right after my home run, “MVP is definitely going to you. And I was like, ‘Dude, that’s not a thing.’ And they were like, ‘Trust me, it’s a thing.’ And then, when I got the award, I got Gatorade and some water dumped on me. It was pretty cold, but it was cool.”
Adolph was a part of a six-player Brooklyn contingent on the South All-Stars side. Second baseman Carlos Cortes, outfielder Wagner Lagrange, and right-handed pitchers Jaison Vilera, Yeudy Colon, and Billy Oxford also earned All-Star nods.
Whether he knew it or not, the Mets’ 12th-round pick in this year’s draft launched his MVP campaign in his first at-bat. With two South teammates on base in the first inning, Adolph, who batted out of the three-hole from the first time in his pro career, lifted a two-run triple into dead center field for the game’s first two runs. No surprise for the guy who leads the Cyclones and ranks second in the league with eight triples.
“You know, whenever I hit one in the gap, I figure I might as well just get on third, right,” Adolph said with a laugh. “But seriously, I just use my speed and try to take full advantage of it. Getting on third, it’s a lot easier to hit someone in from there than second. I just try to bust my butt running around the bases.”
The University of Toledo product continued his standout evening with his next trip to the plate. In the third inning, Adolph cranked a solo home run into the right-field bleachers off Hudson Valley’s Jack Labosky to give the South All-Stars a 4-1 lead.
“It was on the first pitch,” the Findlay, Ohio native said. ‘I went up there and, after my first at-bat, I was feeling pretty good. I told myself that if I saw something over the plate and it was up, I was going to swing at it. So I just took a good hack and connected well with it.”
Adolph wasn’t the only Cyclone who contributed to the South All-Stars victory. Cortes and Lagrange, who both entered the ballgame to start the fifth inning, each went 1-for-2 at the plate. On the mound, Oxford posted a scoreless fourth inning, and Colon followed with two strikeouts in a scoreless fifth frame. Vilera was unavailable to pitch after throwing five scoreless innings in Brooklyn’s 3-1 win over Lowell on Sunday.
All told, it was a great night in State College for the Cyclones’ six All-Stars and their South All-Star teammates. But, for the game’s Most Valuable Player, it was just a little bit sweeter.
After the triple, the home run, the three RBIs, the All-Star game win, the postgame trophy presentation, and the Gatorade bath, Adolph returned to the clubhouse to find one notable new follower among the scores of congratulatory messages on Twitter.
“I got followed by the Minor League Baseball [Twitter] account. That was pretty cool,” Adolph said. “There were some awesome fans on social media, too. There was a lot of support from people I don’t even know. It was just fun representing Brooklyn out there.”