By Anna Dunlavey
Last night was the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League’s All-Star game, and three players represented the DC Grays. Webb Bobo and Trae Sweeting were named to the South All Star Team, and Joe Tietjen participated in the Home Run Derby before the game.
First baseman Bobo and centerfielder Sweeting are rising sophomores, Bobo at Southeast Louisiana University and Sweeting at Georgia State University. This is the first summer in the Ripken League, and the first All Star Game at the collegiate level for both of them.
“Coming into the summer ball season, it was one of my goals to make the All-Star Team, and being able to make that goal feels great,” said Bobo.
“It’s an honor to be nominated,” said Sweeting. “I feel like everybody plays for that.”
Bobo, a native of Pratville, Alabama, jokes that his all-star sounding name has been an incentive since he was young. Since little kid baseball, I’m always known as Bobo, never Webb,” he said. “The name is really fun, I always get ‘That’s a great baseball name!’ I have to live up to it.”Although he does not necessarily have a favorite player, his favorite major league team is the Tampa Bay Rays.
Sweeting, won the 60-Yard Dash contest before the Home Run Derby—he can run the distance in under six seconds. “I just woke up and had speed and I just worked on it,” Sweeting said. He leads the league in stolen bases. Sweeting is from Nassau, Bahamas, but he is a supporter of The Los Angeles Angels. He looks up to Angels outfielder (and Tuesday night’s Major League All Star Game MVP) Mike Trout as a role model.
Tietjen, a rising sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Asheville from Waxhaw, NC, hit two home runs in the Grays’ Monday night win over Youse’s Orioles. Those two put him at four home runs on the season and tied him for first in the league in home runs. Conveniently, Monday night was when the Home Run Derby lineup was announced, and Tietjen made sure he warranted a place on the list. He did not place in the derby but had a decent outing.
For all of these players, the best part of baseball is ending with a win. “Every day you come out here it can go either way,” Sweeting said. “You just have to give it your all and play your hardest because anyone can win.”
Bobo agreed.“Being able to leave the park and knowing you did everything you could to help the team win, that’s the best part,” he said.