McGehee In All-Star Game at Busch Stadium

First baseman Dylan McGehee jumps for a line drive early in the game. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

He starts at first base then pitches 2 innings, striking out 4

By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

Busch Stadium has changed dramatically since Dylan McGehee first walked out onto its grass. So has he.

Ten years ago, when McGehee was in the second grade, he won a contest that allowed him to walk onto the field to meet St. Louis Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols.

A few years later that structure was torn down and replaced by a new stadium. McGehee underwent a transformation as well. He grew into a strapping six-footer, a varsity starter in three sports at Brentwood High School. All-state in football. Conference player of the year in baseball.

He showed which sport is his favorite last night at the still new-looking Busch Stadium. He struck out four batters in two innings and played solid defense as the starting first baseman in the Delta Dental High School All-Star Game.

“Ever since he was a little kid the Cardinals were everything,” said his mom, Susan McGehee. “So this has been his dream to get out there on that new field and actually play on it.”

McGehee comes out of the dugout after being announced before the game. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

The nine-inning game included outstanding seniors from 32 public high schools in the St. Louis area. McGehee’s “blue team” beat the green team 11-3. The squads were coached by former Cardinals – blue by Scott Cooper and green by Brad Thompson. BHS head coach Mike Imergoot was an assistant for blue, coaching first and third base.

“It’s exciting for him,” Imergoot said. “He gets to end his high school career on a Major League field.”

McGehee and BHS head baseball coach Mike Imergoot, who served as an assistant coach for the blue team. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Following Ryan and Kevin

McGehee is the third BHS senior to play in the all-star game, now in its fourth year. Ryan Jones and Kevin Smith both pitched and played shortstop in 2011 and 2012, respectively. While both got hits at the plate, McGehee struck out in his two times at bat. Despite his powerful pitching, his first comment after the game was about not hitting the green team’s starting pitcher, Jonathan Feeler of Hancock.

“I’ve faced him before, but when you don’t touch a bat for four weeks it’s kind of tough getting back into it,” said McGehee.

McGehee grabs his bat in the dugout before the game. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

On the Major League mound

But Dylan pitched as if the season ended last week, not last month. He stepped onto the mound to start the sixth inning as blue’s third pitcher. The first hitter flied out to left field and the next two struck out.

“That first strikeout felt good because that was a really good player, from Parkway South,” said Dylan’s father, Jeff McGehee. “He had hit it to the wall earlier, so striking him out is pretty neat.”

In the seventh inning, the first batter Dylan faced grounded to the second baseman and was easily thrown out. The second hitter struck out. But the third guy, Marquette’s Matt Scheibel, singled. McGehee quickly ended the threat with his fourth strikeout.

“Airtight,” Imergoot said after the game, pointing at McGehee.

“I don’t know how else to explain it but I was feeling good,” said McGehee. “It must have been the adrenalin or something.”

Comparing Busch Stadium’s pitcher’s mound to Brentwood Park’s, McGehee said, “It’s a little higher and there are no holes anywhere.” (Photo by Steve Bowman)
McGehee struck out four of the seven batters he faced. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Same as Brentwood Park, sort of

Staring out at the 46,000 seats and the monstrous video screens before the game, Imergoot made a good point.

“The bases are 90 feet apart,” the coach said. “The left-field and right-field lines are the same as Brentwood Park. So it’s not that much different until you hit it into the cavern out in center field.”

McGehee admitted that the setting was a distraction when he first jogged out to play first base.

“The first inning I was a little nervous, because you just see the whole stadium and then you’re like, ‘Wow, I’m actually playing at Busch Stadium.’ But once you start playing it’s like any other baseball game, as crazy as that sounds,” McGehee said. “Even though this is where the Cardinals play 81 times a year, it’s the same game.”

McGehee receives the throw at first base to putout Ladue’s Dylan Barstow. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Batting felt different too.

“Well, you take a look up there, you see your name on the scoreboard and then how far it is everywhere, it’s a big ol’ ballpark,” McGehee said. “You’re just trying to get a hit, honestly.”

Standing at home plate and seeing your face on the video screen in center field can be distracting if you’re not used to it. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

When asked if he had any ‘goose bump moments,’ Jeff McGehee mentioned the first inning.

“As the game started, watching him run out to first base was really cool,” Jeff said. “It was very special.”

“I just didn’t want him to get hurt,” Susan McGehee said, laughing. “I worry about a line drive hitting him.”

The McGehee cheering section included Dylan’s grandparents Linda and Leon Whitney (front), his mother Susan (with white sign) and father Jeff, his brother Josh (right) and his aunt and uncle, Shari and Mike Rabloff (back). Brother Jordan was also at the game. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

College plans

Dylan plans to attend the University of Central Missouri, an NCAA Division II school. He said he has been emailing the school’s baseball coach and that “hopefully something will come out of it.” Though he made second team all-state as a placekicker and set a school record with 61 extra points in one season, he isn’t certain about pursuing football.

“I’m going to look into it but not as hard as baseball,” he said. “I really want to do baseball.”

Said Jeff McGehee, “It’s kind of sad, in a way, because we’re getting near the end for him. Even if he does play in college I’m not sure how often we’ll get to see him play because of logistics. But it’s been such a fun ride.”

Mike Imergoot is introduced over the PA before the game.He coached at first base and third base for the blue team. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Blue Team All-Stars
Coached by Scott Cooper, whose Major League career included being a Cardinals infielder in 2005, McGehee was joined by players from the following high schools: Clayton, Fox, Hazelwood Central, Jennings, Kirkwood, Lindbergh, McCluer North, Normandy, Northwest, Oakville, Parkway Central, Pattonville, Ritenour, Riverview Gardens and Seckman.

Blue team players are announced one-by-one before the game. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Scott Cooper, the coach for McGehee’s team, played for the Cardinals in 2005. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Green Team All-Stars
Coached by Brad Thompson, a Cardinals pitcher from 2005 to 2009, the team comprised players from the following high schools: Bayless, Carnahan, Cleveland NJROTC, Eureka, Gateway, Hancock, Hazelwood East, Hazelwood West, Ladue, Marquette, McCluer South-Berkeley, Mehlville, Metro, Parkway South, Rockwood Summit and Vashon.

Mike Imergoot congratulates Clayton’s Auggie Mense for reaching base. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Game notes

The game is usually seven innings but an early 6 p.m. start to beat the rain, plus dry skies in the late innings, permitted nine innings this year. The pregame home run derby was cancelled because of the early start, so the award went to Zack Lazenby of Parkway Central for hitting the longest fly ball in the game. The MVP went to Pattonville’s Carter Hanford, who three-for-four with three runs scored and two RBIs.

The all-stars were all graduating seniors from public schools in St. Louis city and St. Louis County. Each was preselected by his school’s coaching staff and drafted to either the blue team or green team by the coaches.

The game is sponsored by Delta Dental of Missouri, which provides dental benefits for over 1.5 million people. It is part of the company’s Tobacco-Free Nation Project to stop tobacco use among youth. All players from both teams signed a tobacco-free pledge to abstain from smoking and chewing tobacco.

Mike Imergoot coaches runners at first base. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
McGehee in the on-deck circle, a dream come true. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

3 thoughts on “McGehee In All-Star Game at Busch Stadium

  1. Dylan has been a pleasure to watch during his 4 years at BHS. Fantastic Hitter and Ballplayer, Outstanding young man, and a great role model for the younger students. Good Luck in College.

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    1. I agree. Dylan is a hard worker, all business, humble as heck. My favorite memory of his high school career is how he refused to give up in BHS’s season-ending loss to MRH in the 2014 district baseball tournament. With BHS down 2-0, he got a hit, stole 2nd and scored to spark the first comeback. Then, after the Devils got a 3-run lead in the 4th that seemed to deflate the Eagles, Dylan returned to the mound and allowed no more runs for the rest of the game. It’s as if, despite the impending loss, he refused to personally go out on a low note. Ya gotta love that.

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  2. Dylan, what an honor to be on the All-Star Team, but to play in Busch Stadium must be a dream. The coverage by Steve Bowman was great. Hopefully you will continue your baseball career at Central Missouri.

    Good Luck!

    Like

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