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Harper headlines nine former NJCAA players in MLB All-Star Game
 July 16, 2013

Nine former NJCAA student-athletes will take the field Tuesday in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game. The National League will suit up five former NJCAA stars in the Midsummer Classic, while four former NJCAA players will come out for the American League.

Washington Nationals outfielder and former Southern Nevada superstar Bryce Harper (right) will be the lone NL starter with NJCAA roots. The 20-year old phenom will make his first start in the All-Star Game after becoming the youngest position player in history to play in the event in 2012. This season, Harper has a .264 batting average with 13 home runs and 29 RBIs. At Southern Nevada, Harper led the Coyotes to the NJCAA DI Baseball World Series in 2010. The first team All-American led the nation with 31 home runs that season – second most in NJCAA history. Harper finished second in the MLB Home Run Derby Monday.

In the starting lineup for the AL will be two former NJCAA student-athletes. At first base, Baltimore Orioles standout Chris Davis will represent Navarro (Texas). Having a breakout year with the Orioles, Davis is batting .315 and ranks second in the majors with 93 RBIs. Davis hit his MLB-leading 37th home run of the season Sunday – tying the AL record for most homers before the All-Star break. Making his first appearance in an All-Star Game, Davis hit 17 home runs for Navarro in 2007 and was named Region 14 East Zone MVP.

Joining Davis as a starter for the AL will be Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista out of Chipola (Fla.). The former Indian is batting for a .254 average in 2013 with 20 home runs and 55 RBIs. Bautista is playing in his fourth consecutive All-Star Game and is slotted to start for the third straight year.

Not to be overshadowed by the offensive playmakers, six pitchers featured in the All-Star Game also have NJCAA ties. The AL will have two former NJCAA student-athletes coming out of the bullpen, while the NL staff is solidified with four.

The AL will turn to former Angelina (Texas) hurler and Boston Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz (left). The right-hander is 9-0 in 12 starts this season, compiling a 1.71 ERA and 81 strikeouts. Buchholz joins Davis as a fellow Region 14 East Zone MVP after going 12-1 with a 1.05 ERA for the Roadrunners in 2005. Making his second All-Star appearance, Buchholz will play in his first Midsummer Classic since 2010.

The AL pitching staff will also feature Chicago White Sox right-hander Jesse Crain from San Jacinto-North (Texas). An All-Region 14 shortstop at San Jacinto, Crain is making his first All-Star appearance after pitching for a 0.74 ERA in 38 relief appearances through the first half of the season.

Coming out of the bullpen for the NL, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin (right) will bear the flag of two NJCAA programs. After playing baseball and basketball at the Division III level with Mohawk Valley (N.Y.), Corbin transferred within the NJCAA to DI program Chipola. With an 11-1 record in 19 starts and a 2.35 ERA, Corbin took the majors by storm this season when he fell just one win shy of becoming the first left-hander to start 10-0 since 1978. In only his second season in the majors, Corbin is making his first All-Star Game appearance.

A two-year player at Wallace State (Ala.), Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel was named to the NL All-Star roster for the third consecutive season. In 2013, Kimbrel has a 1.53 ERA and 26 saves in 29 opportunities. In 2011, Kimbrel was named NL Rookie of the Year after setting a new MLB rookie-record with 46 saves.

After gripping the nation’s attention in the 2012 World Series, former Arizona Western pitcher and San Francisco Giants reliever Sergio Romo is set for his first All-Star Game. The right-hander has a 2.86 ERA in 2013 and has successfully closed out 21 of his 24 save opportunities. While at Arizona Western, Romo was a two-time All-Region 1 selection in 2002 and 2003. Romo went 16-4 and accumulated a 2.79 ERA in his two seasons as a Matador.

After missing last year’s All-Star game, former Meridian (Miss.) left-hander and Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee is making his fourth appearance in the Midsummer Classic and second with the NL. Lee is 10-3 in 19 starts this season, registering a 2.86 ERA with 125 strikeouts.


   Pos.    Player College (Years) MLB Team
CF Bryce Harper Southern Nevada (2010) Washington Nationals
P Patrick Corbin Mohawk Valley (2008)
Chipola (2009)
Arizona Diamondbacks
P Craig Kimbrel    Wallace State (2007-08) Atlanta Braves
P Cliff Lee Meridian (1998) Philadelphia Phillies
P Sergio Romo Arizona Western (2002-03)       San Francisco Giants

   Pos.    Player College (Years) MLB Team
1B Chris Davis Navarro (2006) Baltimore Orioles
RF Jose Bautista Chipola (2001) Toronto Blue Jays
P Clay Buchholz    Angelina (2005) Boston Red Sox
P Jesse Crain San Jacinto-North (2000-01)    Chicago White Sox

Photos courtesy of Jordan Megenhardt/Arizona Diamondbacks, the San Francisco Giants, Pouya Dianat/Atlanta Braves, the Washington Nationals, the Philadelphia Philles, Ron Vesely/Chicago White Sox, the Baltimore Orioles, the Toronto Blue Jays, Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox, College of Southern Nevada, Angelina College and Chipola College.

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