It was only a matter of time before the honors started rolling in for Tri-City Dust Devils shortstop Peter Van Gansen.
The 12th-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres out of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo was one of two Dust Devils players selected for the Northwest League All-Star game Aug. 4 at Avista Stadium in Spokane. The 5-foot-10 left-hander ranks fourth in the NWL in hitting with a .317 average and is third in the league with 44 hits.
“It’s definitely exciting. It shows all the hard work I’ve put in so far has paid off,” Van Gansen said. “That just motivates me to work even more.”
Elvin Liriano, a right-handed relief pitcher, earned his first trip to an all-star game in his fifth season of professional baseball. The 22-year-old Dominican native leads all Tri-City relievers with a 1.31 ERA and 20 2/3 innings pitched.
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“First, I want to thank God. I never played in an All-Star game, so this year God gave me the opportunity,” Liriano said.
Dust Devils manager Anthony Contreras said both players are deserving of the honor but took much different paths to get there.
Van Gansen stepped in as a rookie and began contributing right away.
“He’s been our most consistent guy on offense and defense. He’s our MVP to date,” Contreras said. “He just goes about his business the right way.”
Liriano’s destiny was far from set coming out of the Padres extended spring training camp in June.
“Coming out of extended, he was one of the guys we wondered would even make this team,” Contreras said. “To his credit, he showed us why he needs to be here. His makeup and character (makes him) one of the best guys we have.”