Herts Falcons slugger, Ryan Bird, won the Home Run Derby at Grovehill Ballpark on Saturday. He launched a total of 10 home runs over the course of the two rounds of the competition to the delight of the players and fans who had gathered in Hemel Hempstead.
The contest saw 43 competitors from the age of 6 to 50+ compete in the same competition by virtue of different home run boundaries in line with the outfield fences which the players are used to in their respective league games.
The large number of entries forced the organisers to reduce the number of outs in the first round down to 5. This put enormous pressure on the players as they needed to produce home runs with very little margin for error if they were to progress through to the final round.
Some big names made good contact with the ball but luck was not on their side and their hits were just short of the outfield wall. One of the big favourites, Herts Falcons 2012 Home Run Leader, Dave Tretheway, really should not have taken part as he is about to undergo an ankle reconstructive operation after sustaining the injury while playing squash, so it was always going to be difficult for him to compete on one foot.
There was a lot on the line for brothers Brodie Caress and Jake Caress, as well as Charlie Mayhew and Drew Mayhew, who were competing not only for the Home Run Derby title but also for family bragging rights. They each hit one home run, so that perhaps was the only scenario which ensures peace at home.
Joining them with one home run in the first round were Cris Hiche, Liam Green, Conner Brown, and Takuso Motoheshi, but for all of them one home run was not enough to secure a place in the final.
Three players managed to get more than 1 home run form the 5 outs in the first round. Warwick Byrne (Herts Raptors), Ewan Clegg (London Mets) and Ryan Bird (Herts Falcons) each hit two home runs.
In the final Ewan Clegg impressed with 4 more home runs to bring his tally to 6. Several of them went over the permanent outfield fence so he didn’t need the shorter fence set for his Under-17 age group.
But the winner at the end was Ryan Bird. The two-time National Baseball League Most Valuable Player put on an outstanding hitting display to the rhythm of the play-by-play commentary by Cristobal Hiche on the public announce system. He hit 8 more home runs for a total of 10 over the two rounds. Some of the bombs which he launched were elevated so high up into the air that it seemed as though they would go over the M1 motorway and drop in St Albans. There are many stories of Major League Baseball superstars ruining their swings for weeks after taking part in the Home Run Derby as they try to elevate the ball up. Herts Falcons fans will hope that this event will not affect Ryan Bird’s batting as the team prepares for the National Baseball League postseason which will determine the 2013 national champions.
|FINAL ROUND (home runs out of 10 outs)|
|PLAYER||TEAM||WALL DISTANCE||HOME RUNS|
|Ryan Bird||Herts Falcons||NBL||8|
|Ewan Clegg||London Mets||U17 League||4|
|Warwick Byrne||Herts Harriers||U17 League||0|
|FIRST ROUND (home runs out of 5 outs)|
|PLAYER||TEAM||WALL DISTANCE||HOME RUNS|
|Ewan Clegg||London Mets||U17 League||2|
|Ryan Bird||Herts Falcons||NBL||2|
|Warwick Byrne||Herts Harriers||U17 League||2|
|Brodie Caress||Herts Harriers||U17 League||1|
|Charlie Mayhew||Herts Harriers||U17 League||1|
|Conner Brown||Herts Harriers||U17 League||1|
|Cristobal Hiche||Herts Falcons||NBL||1|
|Drew Mayhew||Herts Harriers||U17 League||1|
|Jake Caress||Herts Ravens||U17 League||1|
|Liam Green||Herts Ravens||U17 League||1|
|Takuso Motoheshi||London Mets||U17 League||1|
|Andrew Briden||TBC||A League||0|
|Bruce Dullea||Sidewinders||AA League||0|
|Callum Vangundy||Herts Harriers||U17 League||0|
|Carlos Casal||Herts Ravens||AAA League||0|
|Carlos Casal Jr||Herts Harriers||U17 League||0|
|Coleman Bohn||London Mets||U14 League||0|
|Connor O’Shaughnessy||London Mets||U17 League||0|
|Dave Tretheway||Herts Falcons||NBL||0|
|Dexxter Bohn||London Mets||U17 League||0|
|Dick Williams||TBC||A League||0|
|George McGarry||London Mets||U17 League||0|
|James Dullea||Herts Giants||U11 League||0|
|Joe Williams||London Mets||U17 League||0|
|Josh Jones||Herts Giants||U11 League||0|
|Joshua Briden||TBC||U14 League||0|
|Jules de PH||London Mets||U17 League||0|
|Katie Everex-Armstrong||Herts Cardinals||U14 League||0|
|Lee Manning||Herts Falcons||NBL||0|
|Lewis Auchterlounie||Herts Giants||U11 League||0|
|Marianna Casal||Herts Cardinals||U14 League||0|
|Marrty Cullen Jr||London Mets||U17 League||0|
|Marty Cullen||Harlow Nationals||NBL||0|
|Nicholas Durer||Herts Giants||U11 League||0|
|Nick Russell||Herts Hawks||AA League||0|
|Pat O’Shaugnessy||TBC||A League||0|
|Paul Auchterlounie||Herts Hawks||AA League||0|
|Rory Vangundy||Herts Dodgers||U11 League||0|
|Sony Lama||Herts Raptors||A League||0|
|Sumiaki Kamada||London Mets||U17 League||0|
|Tom Everex-Armstrong||Herts Harriers||U17 League||0|
|Tom Jansson-Wright||Herts Harriers||U17 League||0|
|Tomasz Kosak||Herts Eagles||A League||0|