This was the scene of the Triple A Home Run Derby in Durham, North Carolina. I had issued my prediction of Francisco Pena before the derby, but was honestly looking forward to seeing the six contestants duke it out for the championship belt. The three International League players were Matt Hague of the Indianapolis Indians (Pirates), Jesus Aguilar of the Columbus Clippers (Indians), and Mikie Mahtook of the Durham Bulls (Rays). The three Pacific League players were Allan Dykstra of the Las Vegas 51s (Mets), Francisco Pena of the Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals), and Mike Jacobs of the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks). I captured the first round in several short video clips:
Francisco Pena- Omaha Storm Chasers
Matt Hague- Indianapolis Indians
Allan Dykstra- Las Vegas 51s
Jesus Aguilar- Columbus Clippers
Mike Jacobs- Reno Aces
Mikie Mahtook- Durham Bulls
After the first round Pena, Dykstra, Hague, and Aguilar all advanced to the second round. My pre-Derby pick of Pena was looking really solid at this point. I was surprised that Jacobs did not advance, but also did not manage a home run in the first round. Jacobs was the most experienced hitter in the group. I was also disappointed that Mahtook missed out on the 2nd round and also missed out on hitting a home run. On to the second round......
With the first two round scores being composite, Pena did not have to do much to advance to the finals. He hit a few home runs in the second round to end the first two rounds with a total of 8 and a place in the finals....
The Indians had a good showing in the second round, but failed to advance to the finals. Tribe fans should be excited for the future with Aguilar. He's got good pop.
I missed Allan Dykstra and Matt Hague in the second round, but Hague was eliminated and Dykstra cranked out a couple of home runs to put himself into the finals. Francisco Pena won the coin toss and went first. The pressure was a bit much for the young Royals catcher....
His PCL teammates tried cooling him off and brought out a chair and a drink after Pena went through two outs without a home run. However, it did not help the Storm Chasers slugger hit a home run....
Which brought up Allan Dykstra needing one home run for a win......
Looks like the Triple A Home Run Championship Belt is headed to Las Vegas with the Mets AAA first baseman.
The winning swing. Congrats to Allan Dykstra of the @LasVegas51s- 2014 #TripleAHRDerby Champion! pic.twitter.com/g8ZApwG52r
— Durham Bulls (@DurhamBulls) July 15, 2014
It was a fun event to attend and I really enjoyed seeing the players swing for the fences. With all of the minor league teams around North Carolina, hopefully someone else will host an All-Star game one of these days. It would be worth a drive.