Hagerstown’s Skole, Ramsey, Nieto and Barrett selected to SAL All-Star game, but more deserving of election

Low Single-A Hagerstown Suns will have four players and their manager represented at the 53rd annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game June 19 at Riley Park in Charleston, S.C.

Infielder Matt Skole, catcher Adrian Nieto, outfielder Caleb Ramsey, pitcher Aaron Barrett and manager Brian Daubach have been elected to represent Hagerstown for the Northern Division squad.

Skole has been hitting consistently throughout the season, batting .298 with 11 doubles, 12 homers and 53 RBIs in 56 games.

Nieto has been solid behind the plate and offensively, hitting .259 with eight doubles, four homers and 25 RBIs through 37 games.

Ramsey has made a nice transition from short-season Auburn, as the Houston Cougar is hitting .301 through 54 games, with four doubles, five triples, five homers and 33 RBIs.

Barrett has been a find out of Ole Miss. Born in Evansville, Ind., Barrett has a 3-1 record with a 3.18 ERA in 18 games, striking out 35 hitters and notching six saves in 22 2/3 innings.

Also very deserving but not selected was infielder Jason Martinson. The shortstop from Texas State is hitting .279 with 10 doubles, three triples, eight homers and 56 RBIs in 58 games. He has a .397 on-base percentage and 18 stolen bases.

Hagerstown Suns hitting coach Mark Harris said Martinson has backed up good numbers in 2011 with a solid start to 2012. Martinson and Skole are two of the top three RBI leaders in the SAL.

“Marty has made great progress since spring training, he has worked hard to be consistent in his mechanics and approach, going to the plate with a plan, and trusting that plan,” Harris said. “You can see the confidence growing daily.”

Don’t discount the emergence of power-hitting Steven Souza, Jr., who one Nationals executive said has made a “180-degree turn” in attitude since the end of last season. Souza, despite a few early health setbacks, is hitting .341 in 34 games with nine doubles, two triples, nine homers and 40 RBIs.

Other attention getting performances include Billy Burns, Alex Meyer, Nathan Karns, Ben Hawkins and Todd Simko.

The outfielder and speed merchant Burns is hitting .318 with eight doubles, four triples, 22 RBIs and 19 stolen bases in 49 games. His on-base percentage is a jaw-dropping .437.

One of the 2011 top selections is Meyer, a right-hander who has gone 4-3 with a 3.71 ERA in 53 1/3 innings and 11 starts. Meyer has 62 strikeouts and is allowing only four hits per start.

The recently elevated Karns went 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 11 starts.

Pitchers Hawkins and Simko sport sub-2.38 ERAs while pitching at least 19 innings apiece.

That’s only a few of the outstanding prospects that have shown their stuff in the first half of the season for the Suns, and have been a pleasant surprise to the Nationals as they press for an opportunity to move up.

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