WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. -- As Erlin Cerda jogged around the bases in the fourth inning of the New York-Penn League All-Star Game, he had one thought.
"That moment, I know I am the MVP of the game," he said.
He was right.
The Indians infield prospect slugged a go-ahead three-run shot and was named MVP as the South rallied for a 9-5 triumph over the North at the midseason classic on Tuesday night at Dutchess Stadium.
"I told the guys, 'Oooh, that's far,' It was very far," Cerda joked after the game. "I just tried to put the ball in play, and good things happen when you put the ball in play."
It took 541 at-bats across three levels for Cerda to hit his first professional homer, but his first All-Star jack came in his second plate appearance after he struck out in the first. The 22-year-old native of the Dominican Republic has left the yard four times during the regular season and leads Class A Short Season Mahoning Valley with 29 RBIs in 45 games.
"I'm comfortable. The guys tried to say, 'Hey, maybe you can play in Lake County, the next level,' and I don't have control over that," he said. "I just play hard every day."
Two of Cerda's teammates on the Scrappers got in on the action as Andrew Calica delivered an RBI single and Todd Isaacs scored a run, both in the sixth inning.
"We got a really good team now," Cerda said. "The start of the season was not too good of a team, but now we got a great team."
State College's Danny Hudzina, Staten Island's Nick Solak and West Virginia's Hunter Owen also chipped in RBIs to back Harol Gonzalez (1-0). The Brooklyn right-hander pitched a perfect third inning for the victory.
Lowell outfielder Tyler Hill got the North on the board when he slugged the first pitch he saw from West Virginia's Danny Beddes (0-1) over the left-center field fence in the bottom of the first. Vermont's Nate Mondou and Hudson Valley's Nate Lowe also plated runs for the North.
"I wasn't the highest pick or anything like that, but it's cool to see some people, whether they're free agents or first-round picks, to see that everybody is the same, they just go about it differently," Beddes said of his All-Star experience.
After missing a year due to an elbow injury, West Virginia's Kevin Krause was behind the plate for the final four innings and got his closer of choice in the ninth, State College right-hander Eric Carter.
"It's very exciting to be here, especially after last year, recovering from Tommy John surgery," Krause said. "To be at this stage, I'm honored to be amongst my peers."
The pair worked around two hits as Hudzina caught Hill's popup to third base for the final out.
"To get to close out the All-Star game is great," Krause said.