MVP State Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) lead the Western Pa. team to a decisive win in the first ever Capitol All Stars Game.
The charity softball contest organized by the Pennsylvania Cable Network and the Pa. Legislative Services raised money for Hunger Free Pa. and Feeding Pa., the state’s two premier food bank organizations.
Christiana went 2 for 3 with two RBI and scored 2 runs. A strong throw from the outfield caught Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) at home plate in the 5th. He prevented an Eastern team rally with a spectacular diving catch in the 7th and final inning, sending Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) back to the dugout.
“Amazing catch. Unfortunately the end of a promising legislative career,” deadpanned announcer Erik Arneson, Pileggi’s longtime spokesman and one of several game announcers.
“I’m just happy we had this successful event to raise awareness for the real issue here, food insecurity for too many families in Pennsylvania,” said state Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny), who went 0-for-1 with a groundout in the 2nd.
Based on the most recent data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and calculated by Feeding America, nearly 1.9 million Pennsylvanians struggled with food insecurity in 2011. This includes nearly 560,000 children – 1 in 5 – living in Pennsylvania.
The Western team scored 8 runs on 14 hits and 2 errors. The Eastern team scored 1 run on 7 hits. They were undone by their 4 errors (a generously low count by the scorekeeper).
State Sen. Tim Solobay (D-Washington) recorded the win. He pitched the first four innings with an ERA of 1.75. State Rep. Rob Matzie (D-Beaver) closed with a 0.0 ERA in 3 shutout innings.
State Rep. Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster) recorded the loss for the Eastern team. He gave up 2 runs in the first two innings and came back to pitch the 6th for a total ERA of 4.66.
House Appropriations Chairman Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) gave up 4 runs in the 3rd inning and 2 in the 5th, for a total ERA of 14.0.*
Christiana got things started in the 1st inning with a base hit, brought home by a triple by Rep. Brandon Neuman (D-Washington).
State Rep. David Maloney (R-Berks) made a diving catch to put out State Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny) and turned a double play when the official (House Parliamentarian Clancy Myer) determined Neuman ran home without tagging 3rd base.
Maloney started the 2nd inning with a triple. State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) brought him home with a sacrifice groundout, bringing the score to 1-1.
State Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) reached 1st for the Western team on an error by Leach. She moved to 3rd off a base hit from state Sen. Rich Alloway (R-Franklin), and come home off an RBI single from state Rep. Paul Costa (D-Allegheny). The score was 2-1.
The Western team’s 4-run romp in the 3rd began with Solobay, who bulldozed 1st baseman state Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montco), knocking him onto his back to force the error.
Christiana hit a double to bring in pinch runner state Rep. Bryan Barbin (D-Cambria), followed by a double from state Neuman that brought in Christiana.
State Rep. Mike Regan (R-York) reached 2nd on an error by Leach to bring in Neuman. State Sen. Sean Wiley (D-Erie) brought in Regan when state Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Phila) dropped a pop fly in the outfield, and reached second base on an error. The score was 6-1 at the end of the 3rd.
Leach committed at least four errors on the night before being relieved by Rep. Duane Milne (R-Chester).
There were a few bright spots for the Eastern team, notably the defensive play of shortstop and state Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh) who ended the 3rd inning with back-to-back catches for fly outs. He recorded at least 5 solo outs.
State Rep. Tom Sankey (R-Clearfield) was a solid defensive presence at shortstop as well, participating in 4 or 5 outs.
Any Eastern rally was cut short when State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Phila), who played for the Western team, turned a neat double play on a grounder from Boyle in the 4th.
Stack lead off the 4th with a base hit and ran all the way home on a hit by state Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin), who made it to 3rd on two errors. Christiana brought Kim in on a groundout to make it 8-1.
The defense settled in after 4 innings, but it was too late. The Eastern team bats never got hot. They had a chance to gain some ground in the 6th inning with the bases loaded, but back-to-back flyouts by Adolph and Boyle left them loaded.
*14.0-ish. Errors were free-flowing during the game so it’s not clear how many were unearned runs.
What a fun event for everyone. It was a great time watching the General Assembly play and trash talk each others team! The icing on the cake was that it supported feeding Pennsylvania’s families. Thanks to all who participated!