RAMSEUR — Deep River Muddogs’ slugger Jordan Cassell blasted a home run over the left field fence on his final attempt in the third round of a sudden death “swing-off” to claim the …
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RAMSEUR — Deep River Muddogs’ slugger Jordan Cassell blasted a home run over the left field fence on his final attempt in the third round of a sudden death “swing-off” to claim the championship trophy in the first annual Old North State League Home Run Derby held Saturday afternoon at I. Fletcher Craven Stadium in Ramseur.
The event featured 10 of the League’s top hitters off teams from both the Eastern and Western Division. Cassell was joined in the competition by Easton Jones (Deep River); Jacob Wicker (Triad Tribe); Joshua Benefield, Tyler Dellerman and Branden McMillan (Guilford Blueticks); Dusty Rogers and Cyrus Grimes (Randolph Lumberkings); Jackson Leck (Market City Carpenters); and Mike Dato (High Point Highlanders).
The format for this contest was as follows: There would be two rounds in which each participant would get 10 “outs” (swings that failed to clear the outfield fence), with the four individuals having the most home runs after two sessions advancing to a third round. The two highest finishers in round three would then move on to the finals.
Round one, which called for the use of wood bats, was considered a “warm-up” round, with rounds two and after requiring batters to use aluminum bats.
Leck was the only round one player to hit a ball out of the park with a wood bat. In round two, Wicker slammed four homers while Cassell, Leck and Benefield all collected three.
While Cassell and Wicker both belted four homers in round three to earn the right to advance to the finals, each one only connected once in the championship round.
That forced a five-swing sudden death “swing-off” to determine the eventual champion, but each failed to homer in two sudden death rounds. It was decided to extend sudden death to one additional round of three swings, and if neither could produce a home run in that round then the champion would be decided by the total number of homers they hit for the entire competition.
Cassell’s homer on his final swing of the day qualified him for the trophy and gave him a grand total of nine home runs. Runner-up Wicker also finished the event with nine homers, while third-place finisher Leck concluded the afternoon with seven home runs and fourth-place finisher Benefield ended the day with five.