Alex Liddi of the United West All-Stars bats against the United East All-Stars during the Baseball United Showcase at Dubai International Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images for Baseball United)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
In the second and final game of Baseball United’s Dubai Showcase at Dubai International Stadium, the BU All-Stars East beat BU All-Stars West 9-5.
Baseball United No. 1 draft pick, starting pitcher Karan Patel, started for the BU All-Stars West on Saturday. Panamanian starting pitcher Severino Gonzalez started the final game for BU All-Stars East at Dubai International Stadium.
Patel, 26, was born in Houston, Texas, and was also the first Indian-American player to be selected in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Patel was picked by the Chicago White Sox in the seventh round of the 2019 MLB Amateur Draft from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
In the top of the second inning, BU All-Stars East struck the board first when center fielder Dwight Smith Jr. roped a double down the right field line and second baseman Brantley Bell came in to score the first run of the game.
A few batters later, BU All-Stars East right fielder Dillon Thomas poked a RBI single to left field, scoring Smith Jr. to extend the lead to 2-0.
BU All-Stars West manager John McClaren went to the bullpen in the top of the second inning, sending out Tiago Da Silva to replace Patel. Patel threw 1.2 innings with 55 pitches, allowing two earned runs, two walks, four hits, and striking out three.
During the bottom of the second inning, BU All-Stars West third baseman Alex Liddi launched a solo home run over the right center field wall for the first home run in Baseball United history to cut the deficit to one run at 2-1.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, BU All-Stars East manager Dennis Cook went to his bullpen to call on relief pitcher Shingo Hirata to replace Severino. Severino threw three innings allowing one earned run, two hits, and striking out three on Saturday.
BU All-Stars West left fielder Conor Panas led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a solo home run over the right center field fence to tie the game at two.
During the top of the fifth inning, BU All-Stars East third baseman Pablo Sandoval came up to the plate during a “money ball” at-bat and launched a three-run home run, which doubled the East’s score to make it 8-2. With right fielder Dillon Thomas and shortstop Andrelton Simmons scoring in the at-bat, with the event labeled as a 6-run “money ball” home run. Cook called for the “golden ball scenario “money ball” prior to the first pitch of Sandoval’s at-bat.
A few batters later, Bell lifted a solo home run over the left field fence to extend the lead to 9-2.
BU All-Stars East relief pitcher Brian Schlitter got first baseman Drew Ward to ground out back to the mound, and he threw the ball over to first for the final out of the game.
The BU All-Stars East had 13 hits offensively and three errors defensively during Saturday’s win. The BU All-Stars West recorded eight hits in the final showcase game.
Thomas ended the day with three hits, one run scored, and one strikeout in his four at-bats.
Bell went 3-for-5 with three hits, a strike out and two runs scored.
Pakistan cricket legend and BU Global Ambassador Shoaib Akhtar and Chairman, CEO and Majority Owner Kash Shaikh threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the start of the second game on Saturday night.
A unique rule in Baseball United is the gold ball that will only be used at the beginning of the ninth inning. If there is a home run hit with the gold ball, the team hitting the homer gets double the amount of the runs that they already drove in from the present score. A Home Run Derby is another rule instead of extra innings if the game is tied after nine innings of play.
Designated runners are as well in effect and the hitter can be re-entered as a fielder during the next half inning.
Baseball United will stock the teams with players from international professional leagues, players with experience in the lower minor leagues in the U.S., and independent league players, as well as developing players from the countries where the league places franchises.
Other teams for Baseball United will be announced for the 2024-25 regular season in the next few months. Baseball United to expects have a full season with eight teams in 2024-25, including playoffs that will happen in January 2025.