Justin Fletcher has been selected to play in the Frontier League All-Star Game for the first time. And just in time.
In his final season with the Normal CornBelters because of the independent Frontier League’s age limitation, the former Pekin High School and Northern Illinois University baseball standout will play in the All-Star Game on July 11 at CarShield Field in O’Fallon, Mo., home of the River City Rascals.
“I’m very excited about playing in the All-Star Game,” Fletcher said. “And it’s awesome that I get to go with five of my teammates. That speaks to the type of talent we have on our team.
“We’re going to enjoy the All-Star festivities, then get right back to work on getting things on the right track for the rest of the season.”
CornBelters manager Billy Horn said he was floored and humbled about having six players selected for the All-Star Game.
“I’m very proud of each and every one of them,” he said. “I wish them luck and I hope they have fun.”
Four CornBelters, including Fletcher, will start for the Experienced team at the All-Star Game.
Fletcher will be joined on the infield by Normal teammates Santiago Chirino and Chris Iriart. Outfielder Derrick Loveless is the other CornBelters starter on the Experienced team and Normal catcher Tanner Lubach also is on the roster.
The lone CornBelter on the Rookie team is pitcher Jack Landwehr, an Illinois State University product.
Fletcher, 24, is the CornBelters’ leadoff batter. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder is batting .290, has scored 26 runs and has 38 hits and 13 RBIs in 34 games. He’s struck out only 12 times in 131 at-bats.
All-Star festivities include a home run derby at 5 p.m. July 10 that will feature former St. Louis Cardinals stars Jim Edmonds, Rick Ankiel, Ray Langford and Mark Whiten.
There will be a Frontier League Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 11:30 a.m. July 11. The All-Star Game will begin at 7 p.m.
Food trucks, inflatables, a rock climbing wall and balloon artists will be part of the All-Star festivities July 11 and there will be a post-game autograph session with the All-Stars.
For tickets, call the Rascals box office at 636-240-2287 or go to www.rivercityrascals.com.
Fletcher was a three-year starter at second base and centerfield at Northern Illinois.
Before signing with the CornBelters on July 15, 2016, he started all 56 games in center field in his senior season with the Huskies and finished second on the team with a .301 batting average. He led NIU with 17 doubles.
Steve Stein can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.