WASHINGTON - The two Orioles players in the All-Star Futures Game didn’t have much of an impact on the final score today at Nationals Park. But after the U.S. Team beat the World Team 10-6, both Double-A Bowie third baseman Ryan Mountcastle and Single-A Frederick lefty pitcher Alex Wells were raving about their experience playing on such a big stage.
Mountcastle entered the game in the fifth as a pinch-hitter for the designated hitter and went 0-for-2. Wells faced two batters from the U.S. Team in the last of the sixth and got them both out.
Mountcastle struck out swinging at a 97 mph fastball in the fifth from Arizona right-hander Yoan Lopez. He swung and missed at a pair of 96 mph fastballs sandwiched around a ball out of the zone and then fanned on the 1-2 pitch. In the seventh, facing Miami righty Jorge Guzman, he flied to left on a 3-2 pitch, which was a 96 mph fastball.
Mountcastle said he was pretty excited when he stepped in the box for the first time today.
“First one, I was really amped up,” he said. “Everybody else was hitting home runs, so I think that was what I was trying to do there. Second one, I was more under control. Just missed my pitch, but I had a good time. The adrenaline was really going and that was as close as you get to a big league game.
“It was an amazing experience. I could not have asked for a better time and to get the win, too, was awesome. Being with these guys and the electricity in the clubhouse and in the dugout was great.”
Mountcastle didn’t play in the field today, but he had no complaints about that and said the Futures Game was just an awesome experience as heads back to the Eastern League.
“I’m excited to start the second half to see what it holds and hopefully I can keep it going,” he said of his slash line of .314/.365/.505 in 59 Bowie games.
Wells took the mound in a 5-5 tie to start the last of the sixth and got San Diego’s Buddy Reed to fly out to deep left on a 3-2 pitch. He then got a called third strike on St. Louis catcher Andrew Knizner. Knizner took two changeups to fall behind 0-2 in the count, then looked at a third strike on a 91 mph fastball. Wells threw nine pitches, six for strikes and his fastball ranged from 89 to 91 mph. He threw six fastballs and three changeups.
“Unreal experience,” said Wells, who is 3-6 with a 4.13 ERA for Frederick. “It went really quick, actually. I wanted to be out there as long as I could and soak it all in, but it went quick. Warming up, I was a little nervous, but as I was running out to the mound I didn’t really try to take notice of the crowd. Just got on the mound and focused on the glove and had success with it.”
Reed drove a ball to left that, for a second, looked like it might get out on a day the teams combined for eight homers. But the catch was made.
“That was a heart-in-mouth moment there,” Wells said. “The ball was carrying pretty well today. The strikeout was a good three-pitch mix and all three were located well. Just felt comfortable out there. Now I’m excited to get back with Frederick and get back in the swing of things.”