Home run derby is a hit in first year

Chalice Keith/The News
Steven Becker, senior from Breese, Illinois, won the first home run derby.Chalice Keith/The News Steven Becker, senior from Breese, Illinois, won the first home run derby.

Senior Steven Becker wins derby with nine total hits

Story by Blake BernierStaff writer

Chalice Keith/The News Steven Becker, senior from Breese, Illinois, won the first home run derby.

Chalice Keith/The News
Steven Becker, senior from Breese, Illinois, won the first home run derby.

Ten players swung for the fences in the inaugural intramural home run derby on Monday.

Senior Steven Becker from Breese, Illinois won the event with nine home runs in two rounds.

Intramural supervisors decided to hold a derby after the regular season ended without any rainouts, resulting in a free day.

“We had an extra weekend and we thought we might as well do a derby and see what kind of interest we can gather, and we had a pretty good turnout,” Becker said.

The event lasted a little over an hour. Participants were responsible for providing their own pitcher and shagging balls in the outfield when not hitting. The rules for the derby were 20 pitches or 15 swings with the final ball being a “money ball” worth two points.

After one round the top two scorers would battle it out in a championship round with each participant starting back at zero.

  First up was junior Adam Warren from Belleville, Illinois. His 15th swing resulted in his only home run of the night but counted for two.

Warren said the first pitches were really rough in the beginning, but he rebounded late and finally came through with a homerun on the money ball.

The next few contestants failed to hit one out but sophomore Reid Lucas from Park Hills, Missouri, broke the scoreless streak with three home runs, including the money ball. 

Lucas said he got off to a slow start in the first round but finished with four home runs to earn a spot in the championship round.

A couple of batters later, sophomore Jonathan Rogers from Princeton, Kentucky, stepped up to the plate and hit four balls out and had two near misses that hit the top of the fence but stayed in the field.  His score eliminated Warren from the final round and tied him with Lucas.

Becker batted last in the first round and showed his power while hitting a round high five home runs.

A second place tie meant there would be three batters in the final round, and leading off was Lucas.

Lucas posted a score of three in the final round but said he should’ve done better.

“In the championship round I just choked, I honestly think I let it get to my head,” Lucas said.

Next to bat was Rogers, and he hit one home run with his 15 swings.

Rogers said he was a little more patient in the first round and waited for higher pitches that he could level out and hit line drives, but in the championship round he tried to lift the ball too much and only hit one home run.

“That second round was terrible,” Rogers said.

Becker batted last and with two swings left Becker hit his fourth home run out of deep left field to earn the home run derby championship.

Becker started slow but said he needed background music to help him find his rhythm.

“Championship round I hit my first two or three on the ground and then I realized I didn’t have Shania Twain going so I went back to the dugout and got Shania going,” Becker said.

Senior Ray Hall from Jackson, Tennessee, pitched to the winning batter and said there was a strategy going into the final round.

“We knew exactly what the game plan was and we executed it and brought home the championship,” Hall said.

The winner got a shirt.

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