Joe Orsulak of the Alexandria Dukes hit a home run on the first pitch of a four-run first inning to help the Northern Division to a 5-3 victory over the Southern Division in the Carolina League All-Star Game last night before 1,817 at Four Mile Run Park.
Orsulak, who also singled in the fourth inning, was named the game's most valuable player. His home run came off a high fast ball from Southern Division starter and loser John Cerutti, who is 8-4 for Kinston.
"If he threw a curve, I might have looked foolish," said Orsulak, who has three home runs this season. "The pitcher likes to get a strike real quick, so I was looking fast ball. I was just looking to hit the ball hard somewhere. I don't look for the home run; I probably won't hit another for a couple of months."
Orsulak's hit, a long high drive over the 365-foot sign in left center rattled the left-handed Cerutti. After retiring the Dukes' Rick Renteria, Cerutti allowed singles to Salem's Mark Gillaspie, Ken Ford of Alexandria and Lynchburg's Duane Evans to load the bases.
Hagerstown's Pat Dumouchelle popped to second but his teammate, Al Pardo, blooped a double down the right field line, clearing the bases for a 4-0 Northern lead.
Cerutti settled down after the shaky start and allowed only one walk in the next two innings. Meanwhile, winner Bill Fultz of Lynchburg, Jeff Zaske of Alexandria and Ed Rech of Lynchburg had blanked the South on four hits through the first six innings. The North added a run in the fourth on a run-scoring infield single by Gillaspie.
But the South made it a game with one swing of Jeff Stone's bat in the seventh. Wilfrido Cordoba of the Dukes relieved to start the inning and allowed a double to Durham's Miguel Sosa. After Winston-Salem's Tony Beal grounded out and Kinston's Bob Nandin walked, Peninsula's Stone, who had only one home run this season, hit a Cordoba curve ball for a three-run homer.
Hagerstown's Alec McCullock, a former Duke from Springfield, Va., pitched the final two innings.