Curt Smith Edges Alonzo Harris In Select Heartland Chevy Dealers Home Run DerbyST. PAUL, MN August 1, 2016
With his opportunities dwindling and exhaustion setting in Curt Smith of the Lincoln Saltdogs stepped out of the batter’s box and gathered himself. Needing just two home runs, Smith got what he needed and defeated Alonzo Harris of the St. Paul Saints 2-1 in the Select Heartland Chevy Dealers Home Run Derby at CHS Field on Monday night.
With both guys drained after two intense rounds Harris went first in the finals and hit one home run. Smith struggled, not hitting one with his first six swings, but on his seventh he drove one over the left field wall to tie it up. After his seventh out he ended the competition with a moon shot over the left field wall.
The eight participants were Burt Reynolds (Texas Airhogs, 21 regular season home runs), Art Charles (New Jersey Jackals, 18), Josh Mazzola (Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, 16), Marcus Nidiffer (Rockland Boulders, 13), Denis Phipps (Laredo Lemurs, 13), Harris (St. Paul Saints, 12), Tony Thomas (St. Paul Saints, 11) and Smith (Lincoln Saltdogs, 11). The top four from the first round moved on to the semi-finals and Smith got it started out of the gate with 10 home runs setting the bar for everyone else. No one would catch him in the first round, but Harris used the unique rule of each home run counting as two after the ninth out. With three home runs and nine outs, he hit two home runs giving him seven for the first round. Nidiffer and Mazzola each had five home runs, moving them into the semis. Rounding out the first round was Charles with three, Thomas and Phipps with two and Reynolds failed to collect a home run.
In the semis the top home run hitter from the first round (Smith) took on the number four seed. Since Mazzola and Nidiffer each had five home runs in the first round the tie breaker was regular season home runs which made Mazzola the three seed with 16 regular season home runs vs. Nidiffer’s 13. As the number two seed Harris was matched up against Mazzola in the 2 vs. 3 match-up. The semis were cut down to five outs for time and Mazzola crushed four home runs, but Harris got into a groove and had three home runs with one out. After failing to homer on his next two swings, he went deep twice in a row to move into the finals. In the other semi-final match-up Nidiffer hit three home runs and Smith had two with four outs. In a home run or go home situation, Smith homered with four outs, counting for two home runs, and won in walk-off fashion.
The 2016 American Association All-Star Game presented by CHS will take place on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. at CHS Field. The game can be seen on FOX Sports North PLUS and heard on BOB FM.