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Lucas, Lewis outslug the competition

June 19, 2006|by JACK HILL III / Staff Correspondent

CLEAR SPRING - The bats were the only things hotter than the 96-degree temperature Sunday during the seventh annual Washington County Little League Home Run Derby.

"I think the competition was pretty evenly matched," event director Fred Billmeyer said. "Some of those kids have got some nice strokes. The home run derby was a success.

"It's a good thing for the kids," he said. "All of the kids from the different leagues were having fun and that is what it is all about. All of the kids were able to come together and become friends."

All of the batters tried to hit as many home runs as they could before they recorded 10 outs. Any swing that didn't result in a homer was an out.

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Zach Lucas of Conococheague won the 12-year-old competition by slugging eight home runs. Rodney Flora of Sharpsburg was the runner-up with six home runs, and Ryne Willard of Valley finished third with five homers.

"It felt pretty good," Lucas said. "Once I had six outs, I started to get better. I started to really get hold of the ball. I did a little bit more than what I expected to do. I was basically happy with my performance. The other hitters were pretty good. A lot of those guys were bigger than me."

He handled the pressure pretty well.

"I felt some pressure today, because I always think that I have to win," Lucas said. "I started to have less pressure after I hit a few balls out of the park. The home run derby was cool, because I always like to hit home runs."

Justin Lewis of South Mountain belted four home runs to win the 11-year-old competition, edging Tyler Byers of Conococheague, who ripped three home runs.

"I think I could have hit more," Lewis said. "I have had a few days where I have swung the bat a little bit better. ... I practice my hitting about three or four times a week.

"I'm surprised that I won the home run derby, because of the good competition. Several fellows were swinging the bat well today. It was fun."

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