One of the highlights for any ballplayer in the Ban Johnson League is getting to spend an evening playing in a big-league ballpark. Twelve players with Northland ties got that opportunity.
The opportunity came to those 12 when they were selected to play for Team B and Team J in the in the Ban Johnson All-Star Game, which took place July 6 at Kauffman Stadium. Seven got to play for the J’s, who whipped the B’s 7-0 on the Kansas City Royals’ home field.
The J’s players included former Kearney player Jess Davis, who drove in a run and scored a run. Pitcher Jacob Thigpen from Park Hill South contributed to the two-hit shutout along with Chris Bolte and Griffin Fletcher from Park Hill. David Paffenroth (Oak Park), Ryan Callahan (Park Hill South) and Preston Cross (Park Hill) were also on the J’s roster.
Ethan Griswold of Liberty pitched two innings for the B’s, who were also represented by Levi McLaughlin (Staley), Jose Manuel Mieses (North Kansas City), Hunter Kellgren (Liberty North) and Tyler Bradshaw (Winnetonka).
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Now in its 90th year, the Ban Johnson League is open to players 23 years of age or younger. The league, which has eight teams this season, is made up mostly of recent high school graduates or college players.