King reigns supreme in home run derby

June 30, 2003|by TRAVIS KING/Staff Correspondent

A sweet swing and some good pitches were the main requirements Sunday to be named king of the Little League Home Run Derby at Municipal Stadium.

And, as it turned out, a King was crowned.

Brandon King, from the Martinsburg Little League, hit seven home runs in the championship round to take the title of Little League home run champion.

King, who qualified during June 22's first round, watched as the event showcased nine of the area's top sluggers who tried to qualify for the finals.

Forhest Crass, of the Cumberland Athetics, set the early standard by smacking seven homers over the outfield tape.

Crass' lead didn't last very long.

Two batters later, Cody Nelling, who plays for Rotary of the Federal Little League, hit eight dingers of his own to pull into first place. Crass and Nelling joined King and National Little League's Adrian Adams in the finals.


Hitters were allowed only five non-home run swings (outs) instead of the 10 they had in the qualifying round.

Adams didn't allow the fewer outs effect him as he hit five homers - one more than his preliminary total with 10 outs.

Crass followed but went homerless and Nelling collected two shots over the left-center field tape after two outs, but couldn't add to his total.

King batted cleanup and cleaned up. The seventh-grader hit four homers before posting an out. Then, with two outs, King smacked two pitches into left field to tie and break Adams' total and win the championship.

King added his final long ball after his fourth out.

King and Adams benefitted by the luck of qualifying last week as five of Sunday's competitors had more than the first week's qualifying total of four.

"I didn't think I had a chance," said King. "I wanted to win, but there was a lot better competition and bigger guys. It was the same pitcher, but he threw better pitches, and threw them where I like them."

King won a pair of rollerblades valued at $300 for his efforts, while each of the four finalists got a trophy and a shirt from the Hagerstown Suns. Each hitter received a medal for competing.

Other competitors in Sunday's round included Jacob Allen Riner (Hedgesville, Red Sox), who hit six homers, while Joey Miller (Halfway, Redmen) and A.J. Jamison (Sharpsburg, Company One), carded five each. Chris Condon (Potomac Valley, Steve's Pharmacy) hit three homers and Ryan Caton (Martinsburg, Dodgers) had one. Johnathan Wolf (Thurmont, Yankees) and Marc Timmons (Mercersburg, Pirates) also competed.

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