FREDERICK -- Tomorrow night is "Funny Nose and Glasses Night" at Frederick's Harry Grove Stadium.
Last night, they weren't wearing any disguises, but most of the players on the field for the 11th meeting of the Carolina League all-stars were hard to recognize. The 5,612 fans assembled were familiar with the North's starting shortstop, the Keys' Manny Alexander, and several of the North's reserves who call Frederick home, but otherwise did not seem to know for whom they were rooting.
For the third year in a row, the South downed the North by one run, 6-5. The Durham Bulls' Scott Taylor picked up the win, pitching two scoreless innings and striking out three in relief of Winston-Salem's Ryan Hawblitzel, but it was the Lynchburg Red Sox's Boo Moore who went home with most valuable player honors. Moore's moniker made the Augusta, Ga., native a quick crowd-pleaser.
Moore, 3-for-4 with a run scored, took the warm reception in stride. "They'd boo me anyway," he said with a laugh. Moore will probably be thanking his great uncle in years to come if he makes it all the way to the major leagues with the Red Sox, for it was he who gave Moore the nickname that may save him from the vocal Fenway fans.
The Frederick contingent, already depleted because of injuries to catchers Cesar Devares and Ed Horowitz, and the call-up of Mel Wearing to Double A Hagerstown, shrunk even more when && the Keys' Sergio Cairo, scheduled to start at designated hitter, was a last-minute scratch because of shoulder soreness during batting practice. Lynchburg's Jeff McNeely started in place of Cairo.
"I kept looking around for my own players," said Alexander, who played the whole game. His second base sidekick Tony Beasley joined him in the seventh inning, but it was an inning too late for the North.
In the sixth, Winston-Salem's John Jensen slapped a single to center that scored Kinston's Tom Eiterman to put the South on top, 3-2. After Winston-Salem's Pete Castellano lined a single to right, Lynchburg's Eric Plantenburg issued consecutive walks to Kinston's Brian Giles and Peninsula's Bobby Holley, the last scoring the South's fourth run.
North manager Mike Hart (Prince William) then summoned Frederick's Kip Yaughn from the bullpen to face Kinston's Miguel Flores. Yaughn, who was making his first relief appearance in more than two years, got just the result he wanted -- an apparent double-play grounder to Keys' teammate Alexander at short. But with the other half of Frederick's double-play combination on the bench, the grounder turned into a fielding adventure for the North.
Alexander fielded the ball cleanly and tossed it to Prince William's Mike Hankins to nail Holley at second, but Hankins' throw to Lynchburg first baseman Willie Tatum was off the mark, as was Tatum's throw home that allowed Flores to advance to second. Two runs scored on the play, giving the South a 6-2 lead.
The North got three runs back in the seventh off of Peninsula's Paul Perkins, one on Beasley's double down the leftfield line. But that was as far as the North's comeback attempt would go.