Junior Home Run Derby kicks off All-Star Week in LA

July 17th, 2022

Days before big leaguers get the chance to flex their power at Dodger Stadium, the kids took the same field with the same goal. Featuring some prolific displays of power and hitting ability, the Junior Home Run Derby spotlighted the talent the next generation has to offer.

The event featured young softball and baseball players competing to be named the Junior Home Run Derby champion in Los Angeles. The baseball group featured two age groups, 12U and 14U. And softball also highlighted two age groups, 14U and 16U. Pitch speeds and fence distances were adjusted to fit each specific group.

In the first round, each contestant received three minutes, or 25 swings, to rack up as many dingers as possible. After the initial round, the two highest-scoring performers battled it out in each respective group’s final. The final battle also featured three minutes, or 25 swings, with the winner being named the champion.

In the event of a tie at any point, each player would have five additional swings to add to their tally. A second tie would result in a three-swing tiebreaker. After two hours of fierce competition, four champions were crowned.

Each 2022 Junior Home Run Derby Champion spoke briefly after receiving their individual trophies:

12U Baseball Winner: Braylon Hubbard, Age 12, Desoto, Texas
What was this experience like tonight?

Hubbard: I'm just happy I got a chance to come out here and compete with all the other kids. I had a good time and [congratulations] to all the kids who made it here.

MLB.com: I heard you predicted you would win tonight. Where does that confidence come from?

Hubbard: I'm really confident in myself because I work a lot. I've gotten so confident that it's like, I have to keep working, because there are standards that I have to live up to.

MLB.com: Here at Dodger Stadium ... What is it like to play on a big league field?

Hubbard: It feels nice and it feels refreshing. It's such an honor and I'm happy to be here.

14U Baseball Winner: Logan Huegel, Age 14, Plainfield, Ill.
What was it like being here on the field today?

Huegel: I got a little nervous at the beginning, but once you get to the ballpark, it's all fun, all fun and games.

MLB.com: What was it like to be a part of this event during All-Star Week?

Huegel: It's awesome. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to do this. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity.

MLB.com: How did you feel as you went through your rounds?

Huegel: I was pretty nervous, but it was a lot of fun. It was nice seeing what the Major Leaguers see and hitting on this beautiful field.

MLB.com: What were your thoughts and expectations going through the final round?

Huegel: Just have fun, stay back. Whatever happens, happens. I'm glad I made it this far.

14U Softball Winner: Jolie Albertson, Age 14, Dalton, Ga.
How are you feeling right now?

Albertson: I'm excited that I got to come out here and showcase my talent.

MLB.com: What are your takeaways from today?

Albertson: I was just excited to come out and play on this field, I’ve always wanted to come out here.

MLB.com: What does this mean for you and your softball career?

Albertson: I think it’s a big part of it. A lot of college coaches might see this. I have a long way [to go], but I think I’ll be OK.

16U Softball Winner: Gabriella Shadek, Age 15, Kinnelon, N.J.
How are you feeling right now?

Shadek: I feel great. It's just an awesome experience to be with a bunch of other athletes.

MLB.com: What was your preparation going into today?

Shadek: Just getting reps hitting, relaxing. That's probably the biggest thing, just making sure you're comfortable and just ready to go.

MLB.com: How long have you been playing softball? Tell me about your softball journey.

Shadek: I started playing when I was 5. I started with town travel and then I played for the Jersey Girls, and now I'm with the Lady Dukes.

MLB.com: What’s it like to be here today and to have this experience?

Shadek: I mean, it's just crazy. Like I never thought I'd be doing this -- ever.

MLB.com: What are some pointers you can give to the next up-and-coming Home Run Derby girls?

Shadek: Just enjoy the moment and have fun. If you win, you win. If you lose, you lose. It's all about the experience.