PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The runs came about with a little assistance from their opponents, but the South All-Stars were happy to give the crowd of 5,678 at Charlotte Sports Park plenty to cheer about as they rallied for a 6-3 victory over the North an the 51st annual Florida State League All-Star Game.
"We knew all we had to do is put a run or two across and things would start happening," said St. Lucie Mets third baseman Wilmer Flores, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored to earn MVP honors. "It was great to be able to contribute and help the team win, especially in such a big game."
After manufacturing three runs in a seventh-inning rally that featured two walks, a single and a wild pitch, the South took the lead for good in the eighth with three more runs, highlighted by Flores' two-run single.
Jupiter Hammerheads catcher J.T. Realmuto reached to begin the eighth when his grounder got by Clearwater Threshers third baseman Cody Asche and continued all the way to third when Daytona Cubs left fielder Nelson Perez threw the ball into the stands past first base.
St. Lucie's Richard Lucas walked to chase Threshers right-hander Tyler Knigge (0-1). Lakeland Flying Tigers right-hander Bruce Rondon got Daniel Santana of the Fort Myers Miracle to hit into a fielder's choice that plated Realmuto.
Santana stole second and, after Mike O'Neill of the Palm Beach Cardinals walked, Rondon uncorked a wild pitch and Flores hit a 100-mph fastball to right to score both runners.
"I've faced him a few times this season and I knew he was going to come with another fastball," Flores said. "It was all about squaring it up and putting into play."
Trailing, 3-0, the South tied it in the seventh as Flores delivered an RBI single. During the rally, Charlotte Stone Crabs center fielder Mikie Mahtook kept the inning alive by drawing a bases-loaded walk.
"It felt great to keep my team in the game and I was happy to do so in front of the home crowd," said Mahtook, who went 1-for-3.
Dunedin Blue Jays first baseman Jon Talley gave the North All-Stars a 1-0 lead in the second with a solo homer to right off Hammerheads lefty Raudel Lazo. Talley entered the game with a .302 batting average and six homers in 52 games for North Division first-half champions.
Talley added another solo shot in the fourth off Mets right-hander Cory Mazzoni to make it 2-0.
"I'm at a point now where I am very confident at the plate," said Talley, who's fourth in the league with a .396 on-base percentage. "When you get a chance to play in front of a big crowd, the energy and adrenaline gets amped up a bit more. Hopefully, this will carry over into a good second half of the season."
In the fifth, the North built a three-run lead when Cubs outfield prospect Nelson Perez hit a ground-rule double that scored Blue Jays shortstop Kevin Nolan from second.
Starter C.J. Riefenhauser of the host Stone Crabs began the game with two strikeouts and a walk in a scoreless inning.
"My pitching coach came out and told me not to get too overhyped with the situation and to just stay relaxed," Riefenhauser said. "Once I got that first strike across, everything was pretty much back to normal."
Charlotte's Chris Rearick worked a scoreless ninth to record the save.