MIAMI -- Before Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge step into the batter's box at Marlins Park to launch home runs in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday night, kids half their size will get a chance to do so Saturday morning.Sixteen kids will swing for the fences in the
MIAMI -- Before Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge step into the batter's box at Marlins Park to launch home runs in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday night, kids half their size will get a chance to do so Saturday morning.
Sixteen kids will swing for the fences in the second annual T-Mobile Jr. Home Run Derby national finals, which begins at 8:30 a.m. ET at Marlins Park. Eight participants from a 12-under and a 14-under age division will battle it out, and the two winners will be recognized at the T-Mobile Home Run Derby live on ESPN Monday at 8 p.m.
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The path to Miami is long and arduous for the participants. Each of them had to win one of more than 1,500 local competitions held around the country before winning their respective regional event held in eight cities.
Although young, the mini-sluggers possess power that say otherwise. During last year's competition at Petco Park, they combined to blast 89 long balls over a fence about 225 feet from home plate.
Last year's 12u winner, Matthew Mebane, returns for a chance at a title in the 14u division. The Hilton Head, S.C., native launched four homers in the final round a year ago to take the crown.
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The rest of the 14u participants include Brayan Doran (Indio, Calif.), Brandon Juarez (Evansville, Ind.), Cole Krawczyk (Phoenix), Ezra Mason (Bradenton, Fla.), Jeremy Rader (Springfield, Mo.), Josh Redding (Lubbock, Texas) and Joe Schulte (Cheswick, Pa.).
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The 12u field consists of Luziano Casados (Albuquerque, N.M.), Braylen Lee (Oakland, Ky.), RJ Ruais (McKinney, Texas), Dakota Thomas (Lincoln, Neb.), Hunter Tyson (Ocilla, Ga.), Jakob Schulz (Mercer Island, Wash.), KJ Scobey (Lakeland, Fla.) and Nazier Mule (Paterson, N.J.).
Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami.