Youth sluggers compete in HR Derby in Seattle

July 29th, 2019

SEATTLE -- Fifteen Little League sluggers did their best impressions of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Joc Pederson and Pete Alonso on Sunday, as the Mariners and T-Mobile Park hosted the West Regional Finals of the inaugural T-Mobile Little League Home Run Derby in Seattle.

The event followed shortly after the Mariners' 3-2 win over the Tigers to cap a five-game winning streak and a 10-game homestand.

Here are the results, with the top four hitters for both the boys and girls brackets each advancing to the finals in Williamsport, Pa. -- site of the Little League World Series -- for the championship of the inaugural T-Mobile Little League Home Run Derby:

West baseball
Ryder Young (Del Mar Little League, Calif.): 20 homers
Chris Hemphill (Paseo Verde Little League, Nev.): 17 homers
Val Regalado (Smithville Little League, Texas): 14 homers
Brady Ebel (Vineyard Little League, Calif.): 11 homers
Judah Schwoegler (Tulsa National Little League, Okla.): 10 homers
Javier Chavez (San Xavier Little League, Ariz.): 7 homers
Ed Zurita (Peccole Little League, Nev.): 5 homers
Julian Ruiz (Spreckels Park Little League, Calif.): 4 homers
Owen Fagernes (Chehalis Little League, Wash.): 4 homers
Ross Kelley (Centralia Little League, Wash.): 3 homers

West softball
Valarie Scott (Flowing Wells Continental Little League, Ariz.): 5 homers
Kendall Becker (North Kitsap National Little League, Wash.): 3 homers
Aubrey Clark (Johnston Little League, Iowa): 3 homers
Angelee Calderon (Ponytail Little League, Ariz.): 0 homers
Aubrey Kilar (Boulder City Little League, Nev.): 0 homers

With the backdrop of a sun-soaked Seattle Sunday, the participants clubbed their way to a combined 155 deep flies over a pink-faded T-Mobile wall beyond the infield dirt. For a clear day, the ball was flying.

"It's crazy," Clark said. "This is my first time on a field in a big league ballpark and it's so much fun."

Scott raced away to an early lead in the first round with three homers that gave her a cushion to build on throughout the event, finishing with five total. She said it was the most homers she's ever hit in a competitive, Derby format.

"I don't know, I was focused, I guess," Scott said. "I was really nervous. But it was a surprise. I didn't think they were going to go over at first, but I kept reminding myself to put my hips into it."

For the girls, it was about camaraderie and taking in the Major League stage.

"Just when we were getting ready to bat, I was shaking a little bit and getting nervous," Calderon said. "After the two rounds that I did, I stopped shaking and it was all right."

And for Kelley, who did not advance but still enjoyed the moment, it was a particularly special afternoon. He hails from the Centralia Little League roughly 90 miles south of Seattle, and he's been a Mariners fan his whole life. Sharing the same batter's box as his favorite player, Seattle right fielder Mitch Haniger, proved to be a pinch-me moment.

"It's really cool. It's kind of surprising how big it is. It feels somewhat smaller than when you look at it from the stands. The Home Run Derby came to my town and at first I didn't really want to do it, but my coach wanted me to do it and I'm really glad I did."