December 27-29, 2011
What began with 91 competitors from seven different countries ended up with just one standing as Columbus, Georgia native Kyle Carter bashed a total of 14 homers to wear the crown for the 6th Annual Power Showcase World Championship.
Hitters each had five outs with wood and 15 with aluminum during the preliminary round on Tuesday with the top five sluggers advancing to Wednesday’s championship.
It all started early Tuesday morning at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The power was slow to come on as none of the first 34 hitters would slug enough homers to finish in the Top-5. But there were still fireworks from the fourth hitter, Rowdy Tellez, a junior first baseman from Elk Grove High School in northern California. The 6’4”, 230 lb left-handed hitter hit one way out with wood (421 feet), then three laser shots with aluminum including back-to-back blasts. Tellez’s farthest was measured at 462 feet, sailing high over the right field stands.
The hitter before Tellez, Joseph Duffin (Villa Park HS, CA) hit five homers, all with aluminum. Three of them came in a row and the farthest went 459 feet. The powerful 6’1”, 205 lb righthanded hitter (committed to UC-Santa Barbara) held the lead as thirty more hitters took their cuts only for his five jacks to get obliterated by the 11 hit by Corbin Weeks (Evangelical Christian HS, FL), who hit them all with aluminum. Weeks’s bounty included four in a row and a 457 foot launch. Standing at 5’10”, 180 lbs, Weeks was hardly a favorite coming into the event but left spectators gasping with his performance. He’s committed to NAIA Southeastern University.
It took until the 56th hitter for someone to tie Weeks and that was Tanner Rahier (Palm Desert HS, CA). The righthanded hitter, committed to the University of San Diego, is better known to scouts as a slick-fielding shortstop but he showed another impressive dimension to his game on Tuesday. Rahier had a stretch of three consecutive aluminum bat bombs and his longest blast was measured at 466 feet. Three of his homers crashed the Friday’s Front Row section in the upper deck in left field.
Justin Bellinger (St. Sebastian’s HS, MA), a mere sophomore, hit a 477 foot bomb among his five home runs in the preliminary round. The 6’6”, 220 lb left-handed hitter is a tower of power, committed early to Vanderbilt, and one who’s early on the draft radar for 2014.
Kyle Carter (Columbus HS, GA) qualified for the Top-5 by hitting seven total homers in the preliminary round. The University of Georgia-bound two-way player hit one out with wood, then six more with aluminum including a 487-foot bomb to right field that measured as the event’s longest home run. Carter, Weeks, and Rahier would eventually be joined in the championship round by Auburn-bound Jordan Ebert (Baldwin City HS, AL) and junior Ryan Sullivan (Hopkinton HS, MA).
Sullivan, the only underclassman to make the Top-5, started out like gangbusters by hitting four home runs with wood, the most at the event. He hit three more with metal to advance.
There were no opposite field homers, understandably, and Chris Chinea (Miami Gulliver Prep HS, FL) was the only one to go long to center. Chinea’s 433-foot blast went over the “413 ft” sign just to the left of straightaway. Chinea has committed to Miami.
Though he only hit one homer, sophomore outfielder Gerard Hernandez (Pinnacle HS, AZ) showed perhaps the best left-handed bat-speed at the event. The 5’9”, 195 lb powerhouse is one to watch, both as a prospect and as a home run derby participant in the coming years. Hernandez creams his line-drives and just needs a little more lift to put them over the fence.
Wednesday afternoon was all set for the championship round as Tanner Rahier, Corbin Weeks, Ryan Sullivan, Kyle Carter, and Jordan Ebert stepped in one at a time to settle the score.
For the championship round, each player swung metal and was given 15 outs.
Rahier, Weeks, and Sullivan took their cuts first and each of them hit only a single homer. This set the stage for Kyle Carter’s dramatics, when he proceeded to launch seven homers including three-in-a-row. They all went to right field, several of which were majestically towering fly balls.
Jordan Ebert was the final hitter after Carter and he hit one homer to finish in a four-way tie for second place in the final round.
Kyle Carter not only won the derby but was also given the Babe Ruth Award for the longest home run (487 feet) as well as the award for Most Home Runs Overall (14) over the two rounds.
The IMG Award for The Top Underclassman went to Ryan Sullivan for his total of 8 homers as a junior. He also received the Chandler Wood Bat Award for most homers swinging wood (4). Clint Coulter, an Arizona State-bound senior catcher from Union HS in Washington, was awarded via tiebreaker for Most Consecutive Homers with Wood (2). Corbin Weeks received the Most Consecutive Home Runs Award (4) with aluminum while Tanner Rahier got the honors (via tiebreaker) for hitting the Most Homers in a Round by slugging 11 in the preliminaries on Tuesday.
Finally, Sophomore Justin Bellinger was given the Colossus of Clout Award as the underclassman with the farthest home run (477 feet).