Near doesn't miss in derby

June 14, 2004|by CHRIS CARTER

South Mountain's Anthony Hollis launched six home runs Sunday to lead off the 12-year-old portion of the Washington County Little League Home Run Derby at West End Little League and not one of the next 10 hitters could manage even half of his total.

Then came West End's own Seth Near, the final contestant in the derby.

Near matched Hollis' six home runs and did him one better in the hit-off to take first place in the contest, sponsored by Funkstown Moose No. 2435.

"I was feeling really good about catching (Hollis) when I had four home runs and only five outs," said Near. "I was getting good pitches and taking good swings."

After Hollis went homerless in five swings in the hit-off, Near needed just one to win.

The lefty didn't waste any time.

On his second swing, Near lined the pitch from Bill Nutter over the right-center field fence, sending his home crowd into a frenzy and winning the derby.


"When he didn't hit any home runs in the hit-off, I really liked my chances," said Near. "It was even better to be able to do it in front the home crowd. I had a really fun time."

Billy Springirth (American), Zach Snodderly (Maugansville), Justin Mills (Federal) and Andrew Bittner (Valley) each hit three homers and Zach Leazier (Clear Spring) had two.

The 11-year-old division of the competition provided nearly as much excitement.

Halfway's Zach Sauble hit three home runs early and held the lead for much of the contest. Maugansville's Jake Bachtell and Conococheague's Dustin Violet came close, hitting two homers each.

Then West End's Kenny Kitchen, the final contestant in the division, equaled Sauble with three homers to send the derby to another round.

Sauble answered the call, opening the hit-off with three staight homers. Kitchen followed but fell short as Sauble won the hit-off, 3-2.

"I was just thinking about doing better than I did the first time, said Sauble. "It was tough because I think me and (Kitchens) are equal in baseball. I thought I might not win when he was catching up, but I'm glad I did. I had a really good time."

The Home Run Derby featured participants from the county's 12 little leagues. Each hitter was awarded a medallion and the top two from each age division were given a plaque.

The Herald-Mail Articles