The Southern Illinois Miners are pleased to announce that Bryant Flete, Chase Cunningham, Gianfranco Wawoe and Andy Cosgrove have been voted in to represent Southern Illinois at the 2019 Can-Am League vs Frontier League All-Star Game on July 10 at Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona, New York, hosted by the Can-Am League's Rockland Boulders. Flete will also start the game at shortstop for the Frontier League squad, with the four selections representing the most the Miners have had since they had eight all-stars in 2016.
"All of our coaching staff and players are very excited and happy for these guys," Miners manager Mike Pinto said. "They have had a tremendous first half and have been part of some big Miners wins. This is such well-deserved recognition for all of them."
Flete, who came to the Miners in the offseason from the Chicago White Sox organization, is the league's leader in batting average (.375) and on-base percentage (.441) entering action on June 28, while ranking second in total hits with 48 in only 31 games played. He has scored a team-best 26 runs as well, batting leadoff in every game that he has been active for while also amassing six doubles, one home run and 10 RBIs. He is in his eighth year of professional baseball, having originally signed with the Chicago Cubs at age 19 from Cumairebo, Venezuela. He is also the fifth Miner overall to start the all-star game at the shortstop position and the first since Niko Vasquez in 2015.
Cunningham came to the Miners in a trade from the Washington Wild Things in the offseason, and has been the ace of the pitching staff this year. He enters his start on June 28 at Gateway tied for the league lead with five wins while pacing the circuit with 59 innings pitched. His 53 strikeouts are also fifth among active pitchers, while his 2.90 ERA places inside the league's top-15. A fourth-year player in the Frontier League overall and fifth-year professional, the Bristol, Tennessee native is in the league's all-time top-10 in career wins and games started while also ranking inside the top-20 in all-time innings pitched. 2019 will be his second all-star nod in the Frontier League, having also been a midseason all-star in 2017 while a member of the Wild Things.
Hailing from the island of Curacao, Wawoe has been outstanding for Southern Illinois on the infield. Batting third for most of the season, his .326 average entering play on June 28 is second among qualifying hitters in the league to his fellow infield mate and all-star Bryant Flete, while his .416 on-base percentage ranks third. He is also tied for first in the league in home runs (7), tied for third in total hits (46), and sixth in RBIs (26). The eighth-year pro, who played seven seasons in the Seattle Mariners organization before coming to Southern Illinois, also has walked (19) more times than he has struck out (15) this year in 141 at-bats.
Right behind Wawoe and Flete in the batting average category is Cosgrove, a third-year pro and first-year Miners catcher from Kirkland, Washington, who enters play on June 28 with a .316 batting average that places third in the Frontier League. He has also compiled six doubles and 10 RBIs on the season as well as a .404 on-base percentage that ranks fifth in the circuit, but has truly shown out on defense. The former Minnesota Twins farmhand has not made a single error this season in nearly 180 innings behind the dish while also throwing out more than half of the runners trying to steal against him (10 of 17).
All-Star events begin with the All-Star Charitable Luncheon featuring New York Yankees broadcaster John Sterling on Tuesday, July 9. The Home Run Derby takes place that night, and features former New York Yankees and Mets players Mookie Wilson, Jesse Barfield, and John Flaherty.
The Can-Am League vs Frontier League All-Star Game presented by WMC Health/Good Samaritan Hospital is Wednesday, July 10. For tickets and additional information, please visit http://www.rocklandboulders.com/allstarsummer2019.
The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League's most-successful franchise since debuting in 2007, winning the 2012 Frontier League Championship as well as division titles in 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016. They have been awarded the Frontier League Organization of the Year award three times since their inception, and also set a new Frontier League attendance record in their inaugural season. For ticket information, contact the box office at (618) 998-8499. For additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.