ZEBULON, N.C. -- Former University of Iowa outfielder Joel Booker earned the BUSH'S All-Star MVP honors Tuesday night at the 2018 Carolina League All-Star Classic, presented by US Foods.
Batting in the leadoff position, Booker finished 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIS, leading the Southern Division to a 7-6 victory inside Five County Stadium in Zebulon, North Carolina.
"It's nice, never thought it ever would have happened," Booker told MiLB.com of earning the All-Star MVP honors with his dad in the stands. "(I am) glad that I was close enough that my dad got to come and see me do it, especially since I went away to play in college and he couldn't make many of those. He comes to everyone he can make now."
The Columbus, North Carolina, native got off to a quick start, blasting the game's first pitch from Daniel Gonzalez over the left field fence for a solo home run. He added a leadoff single in the third and an RBI groundout in the fifth, cutting the Southern Division's deficit to 4-3.
"I think tonight was the first time I've swung at a first pitch in a long time," said Booker to MiLB.com. "I've always been a guy that the pops (home runs) come randomly and I'll continue to be that guy."
In the sixth, Booker gave his squad insurance with a two-run single to center field. The runs proved important as the Northern Division scored single runs in the eighth and ninth innings.
Booker, who helped the Class A Winston-Salem Dash to a first-half title in the Southern Division, is the first player from Winston-Salem to earn All-Star MVP honors in the Dash era (2009-present).
Former Hawkeye Tyler Peyton threw 2/3 of an inning for the Southern Division to record a hold. He allowed a solo home run to Carter Kieboom in the bottom of the ninth inning.