July 29, 2014

Ban Johnson all-stars relish chance to play at Kauffman Stadium

Baseball elite file into major-league ballpark early Sunday morning for annual all-star game.

The Royals played host to the 46th Ban Johnson League All-Star game on Sunday, prior to their game against the Cleveland Indians.

The 13-team league was divided arbitrary into two all-star teams — the B All-Stars and the J All-Stars.

The J All-Stars won the game 5-3, but the day seemed more about the event than the outcome.

The most important aspect for the players was about the opportunity to play against the best players in the league at Kauffman Stadium.

The players filed into the stadium at 8 a.m. for the 9 a.m. game and there was a look of awe on their faces.

Bandits shortstop Erik Benson said, “It’s great to play with everyone else in the league.”

Benson played at St. Thomas Aquinas and Barton County this past spring and will be heading this fall to Colorado State.

“I finally got a chance to play here,” Benson said.

BJ Raider designated hitter Victor Brancato, a Gladstone resident and Rockhurst High School graduate, soaked up the atmosphere.

“This is a great experience to play in a major league park,” said Brancato, who this fall will play at Central Missouri. “It is a great honor to play in the all-star game.”

BJ Raiders shortstop Coleman Waheed graduated from Dallas Hillcrest in Texas, but is attending William Jewell.

“I remember watching games from here on TV,” he said. “This is greatest thing that I’ve ever done. It’s something I will never forget.”

Seaboard first baseman Anthony Miller had an RBI double in the game. He graduated from Blue Valley Southwest is attending Johnson County Community College.

“This is the best experience of my life,” he said. “It was great to play on this field where so many great players have played.”

UMB Bank third baseman Bryan Porting, an Olathe South graduate playing at William Jewell, added: “It means the world to play in this park and to play in front of my family.”

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