Outfielders Zander Clarke and Alec Leighton, and pitchers Matt Hardy, Max Jones and Josh Hendrickson are the five Portland Pickles who were selected to play in the 2017 Great West League (GWL) All-Star Game. The game will take place on Monday, July 24 at Nettleton Stadium in Chico, California.
League managers decided the roster for the All-Star Game. Both Clarke and Hendrickson were unanimously chosen. Hendrickson leads the league with seven wins and 80 strikeouts entering the break. Clarke is hitting .456 entering the break, leading the team and currently ranked second in the league.
Clarke appeared in the 2016 GWL All-Star Game in Medford, and leads the league with 11 home runs and has also driven in 42, so he wasn’t shocked when he found out he was chosen again. “I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone, but it’s always a great feeling to be selected,” he said. Prior to the game, he will be partaking in a home run derby, alongside his teammate Hardy. His fellow All-Star teammates are looking forward to cheering them on in the event. “We’re expecting big things from Zander and Matt,” Jones said. Hardy currently ranks second in the league with nine home runs, but made the roster as a pitcher.
Hendrickson, an Australian native, believes his unanimous selection was the result of everything he has accomplished this season. “It’s definitely awesome because it shows how hard I have been working,” he said. “But there is a lot of room to improve and get better.” This is the first All-Star team he has been a part of and he found out he made the roster from some of his teammates. “It’s great to have those guys behind me and supporting me,” Hendrickson said.
There are no nerves going into the game from any of the Pickles All-Stars; they are all excited to meet other players from around the league. “One of the unique, cool parts about baseball is just going out on short notice with new players and having fun and getting to know each other,” said Hardy. “You definitely learn a lot from other players,” added Leighton.
To prepare, the All-Stars are working on staying consistent and keep improving and progressing. But most importantly, they want to have a good time. “It’s all about having fun,” Jones said. “The fans should be having a great time so hopefully we can go out and put on a good show.”