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Florida State League All-Star Game Recap

North Division Takes the Dub
The Florida All-Star State League weekend is now in the books. In a power filled event, Mitch Walding has been crowned the Home Run Derby champion.


Mitch Walding HR Derby Champion (Photo Courtesy of Gabe Rodriguez

Then, the North Division would go on to win the All-Star game in 1-0 pitcher’s duel. Although the pitcher’s from both sides put on an absolutely dominating performance, Christin Stewart of the Lakeland Flying Tigers would come away with the MVP award. Stewart scored the only run in the ball game and was able to get on base 3 times; he legged out a double to lead off the fifth inning and would draw two walks.

I had the opportunity to speak with our MVP and other All-Stars after the game. Here’s what Christin Stewart had to say on winning the MVP award, “Truthfully, when the season started, I didn’t see myself winning the MVP award for the All-Star game. It’s just a blessing, I’m just happy to be out here and happy to have the opportunity to just perform along side the best players in the league.”


Post Game Interview with MVP Christin Stewart (Photo Courtesy of Gabe Rodriguez)

Stewart was drafted in the first round by the Tigers in 2015 out of the University of Tennessee. “The Tigers organization means a lot to me, picking me up last year and having faith in me really gave me confidence to be where I am today. I’m just so happy.”

For many of these players it’s their first All-Star game in the FSL. It was nothing, but smiles as you could see everyone took in every second of it.

Mac James, catcher and first baseman for the Charlotte Stone Crabs, spoke to me about the All-Star game experience. “It’s really cool deal, all these good guys, all these great players. It’s unbelievable just to be able to get some knowledge where you can. We learn from each other. We have some great coaches too. Everyone here just wants to make each other better. I know I wouldn’t be here with out my teammates and coaches so it’s special. Just the support we have from our own organization and from other organizations as well.”

Mac James (Photo Courtesy of Gabe Rodriguez)

Mac James (Photo Courtesy of Gabe Rodriguez)

Aristides Aquino, right fielder for the Daytona Tortugas, had some words about the All-Star game as well. “This will be one of the best memories I’ve ever had. Any one who has ever played ball, regardless of what level you’re at, works to be invited to the All-Star game. It was surreal and a blessing I can’t thank God enough for the path he’s led me through.”

Artisides Aquino in the HR Derby (Photo Courtesy of Gabe Rodriguez)

Artisides Aquino in the HR Derby (Photo Courtesy of Gabe Rodriguez)

St. Lucie stars, Tomas Nido and Wuilmer Becerra shared also their thoughts on the game. “It was a pleasure playing with these guys. All of them are top of the line prospects so it’s cool to get a chance to all battle it out in an All-Star game.” said Nido. Becerra agreed and continued, “It was a nice experience playing with the guys that we play against on a daily basis. You become friends with these guys but never play with them. This was our chance and I loved it.”

Tomas Nido catching in the ASG (Photo Courtesy of Gabe Rodriguez)

Tomas Nido (Photo Courtesy of Gabe Rodriguez)

Wuilmer Becerra (Photo Courtesy of Gabe Rodriguez)

Wuilmer Becerra (Photo Courtesy of Gabe Rodriguez)

The Fort Myers Miracle did a phenomenal job of hosting the ASG weekend. Miracle star, Trey Vavra had a few words on the Home Run Derby he particpated in, “I was pretty nervous, because I’ve never done a HR derby before besides in the backyard with a wiffle ball. I was trying to settle my nerves down, but I was swinging really hard out there. But I hit one out so I feel I accomplished something for my first HR Derby. It was a blast being apart of this whole weekend.”


Trey Vavra in the HR Derby (Photo Courtesy of Gabe Rodriguez)


Steven Cardona currently works for the Tampa Bay Rays in their baseball operations department. Much of his past experience focused on player personnel, departmental administration, research and development. Prior to joining the Rays, Steven worked for the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets. The Naples, Florida native graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s of science in Business Management.

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