WALDORF, MD – The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs will have six players represent the organization at the 2015 Atlantic League All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 8 at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn. Right-handed pitchers Jake Hale, Cody Eppley and Erik Hamren will be joined by infielder Zach Wilson, Jake Opitz and outfielder Jamar Walton at the All-Star showcase.
Jake Hale, 29, is a former three-time MLB draft pick, having been most recently selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009. The former Ohio State Buckeye, leads the Blue Crabs pitching staff and the Atlantic League with eight wins. Hale also has the fifth lowest ERA in the league at 2.43. This marks his first career selection to an All-Star Game roster in the Atlantic League.
Cody Eppley is in his third season in the Atlantic League and is making his first appearance in an Atlantic League All-Star Game. Eppley was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 2008 MLB Draft and spent time with the New York Yankees at the Major League level over the course of three seasons. The right-hander was acquired in a trade on June 2 from the Lancaster Barnstormers. Since joining Southern Maryland, he has allowed just three runs in 12 appearances out of the bullpen, registering an ERA of 2.06.
Hamren, 28, pitched at the Major League level in 2011 with the San Diego Padres. He currently ranks second in the Atlantic League with 17 saves and has allowed just four runs in 24 appearances. This will be the second consecutive All-Star Game appearance for Hamren.
Atlantic League newcomer Zach Wilson, 24, spent four season in the New York Yankees organization before signing with Southern Maryland in early April. The Long Beach, Calif. native is hitting .265, with three home runs and 20 runs batted in. He has had a pair of lengthy hitting streaks in 2015, including a 13-game hitting streak that occurred on June 5 to June 18.
Opitz, 28, was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2008, and the infielder played for the organization until 2011. After a brief stint with the Philadelphia Phillies, he signed with Southern Maryland in 2013 and has spent time with the Blue Crabs since then. Playing primarily at second base in 2015, Opitz has recorded a solid .981 fielding percentage in 42 games.
Walton was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 4th round of the 2004 MLB Draft, going on to spend seven season in the Marlins, Royals and Nationals organizations. He is hitting .288 on the season and held a seven-game hitting streak from May 20 to June 2. Defensively, Walton has started all three outfield positions this season. This will be his first All-Star Game appearance in his Atlantic League career.
In addition to the all-star selections, Blue Crabs Manager Stan Cliburn will assume the role of bench coach for the Freedom Division team in Bridgeport while Lancaster Barnstormers Manager Butch Hobson will manage the team.
“We are extremely proud to have these six players representing our organization in the upcoming All-Star Game,” said Blue Crabs Manager Stan Cliburn. “The exemplary performances by these players both on and off the field represent some of the finest talent that the entire Atlantic League has to offer. I tip my hat to the effort that they have put into working to perfect their craft.”