KODAK, Tenn. -- BayBears right fielder Alfredo Marte had two hits, including a double, drove in a run and scored another to capture Most Valuable Player honors as the South defeated the North, 6-2, before a crowd of 5,406 at Smokies Park.
The South had not won the midseason classic since the league went to its present division setup in 2005.
When Danny Hultzen pitched a scoreless first and Jackson Generals teammate Denny Almonte led off the bottom of the inning with a home run, it looked like the North Division was headed to yet another victory in the Southern League All-Star Game.
The South, however, wasn't about to lose for an eighth consecutive year. The streak had gone on quite long enough.
The game couldn't have started better for the North. But after the opening inning, the South was in control.
It didn't happen as the North pitching staff couldn't match the South once Hultzen exited.
Rumored to be on the verge of a promotion to Triple-A Tacoma, the Mariner's top prospect needed only nine pitches to turn away the North in the first inning.
After striking out leadoff hitter Ryan LaMarre of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Hultzen walked Mobile's David Nick on four pitches. But he finished his night on the next pitch, getting Matt Davidson of the BayBears to ground into a double play.
South starter Tyler Skaggs of Mobile couldn't match Hultzen's scoreless inning. Denny Almonte picked on a 3-2 breaking ball and straightened it out. The homer landed on the berm in left field.
But the South scored three runs in the second and the North never got back in the game.
Marte doubled off Chattanooga's Matt Magill and, after Montgomery's Kyeong Kang walked, Mississippi's Todd Cunningham delivered an RBI single. Steve Ames replaced his Lookouts teammate and gave up a single to Jacksonville's Kyle Skipworth that loaded the bases. The tie-breaking runs scored when the North couldn't complete a double play on a grounder by Didi Gregorius as Generals shortstop Nick Franklin committed a throwing error on the relay.
The South made it 5-1 with two more unearned runs in the third. Nick led off with a triple off Jackson's Taijuan Walker and scored on an errant pickoff attempt by Generals catcher Jesus Sucre. Marte followed with an RBI single.
The North took advantage of Cunningham's error in left field to get a run back in the fifth. Jim Adduci of the Smokies got the RBI with an infield hit.
But the South restored a four-run cushion in the eighth as Mobile's Marc Krauss, the only repeat All-Star from last year, hit a leadoff double and came home on a pair of wild pitches.
The South outhit the North, 9-7. Adduci also doubled off the bench and was the only player on the North squad with more than one hit.
Skaggs was credited with the win, despite allowing Almonte's leadoff homer and walking a batter. Lookouts RHP Magill took the loss.
------ Source: MiLB.com
Losing pitcher Matt Magill
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt