Hamilton Anderson belted home runs on his first two swings in the championship round of the MINK Home Run Derby.
“I felt good right away, but then I hit a wall,” Anderson, the Jefferson City Renegade catcher, said.
Anderson fought through to hit five home runs in the round, but came up just one short Thursday in dropping a 6-5 decision to Taylan Mullins-Ohm of the Clarinda A’s at Vivion Field.
“I gave away some swings in that last round, swinging at pitches I should have taken, and I hit them to center,” Anderson said. “I put up a good fight.
“It stinks to lose that close.”
In the Derby format, a batter could hit until he reached 10 outs, with an out being any batted ball that wasn’t a home run.
Mullins-Ohm hit first in the round and put a six on the board, with more than one of his home runs banging off the top of the shed in left-center.
“That’s where I was aiming,” Mullins-Ohm said.
Mullins-Ohm didn’t try to overthink his strategy in the event.
“Swing hard, just make it simple,”he said.
Then it was Anderson’s turn and his first two swings resulted in home runs. But his next five swings were outs.
He then homered on three of his next four swings to pull to within one at 6-5 with five outs remaining.
“When I hit that fifth one, I thought I had it,” Anderson said. “But I was just out of energy.”
He finished with 15 swings in the championship round.
“I had a lot of swings, I’m pretty spent right now,” Anderson said.
Anderson started the Derby with a 4-3 victory against Jesse Fonteboa of Nevada, then he hit a home run with nine outs to top Calen Protaskey of Joplin 3-2 in the semifinals.
“I just had to get deep, break something out,” Anderson said. “Just get it in the air.”
Mullins-Ohm started with a 4-1 win against Pat Norton of Des Moines, then edged Greyson Barrett of Chillicothe 5-4 in his semifinal.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of work in the cages, it was fulfilling to get the win against good competition,” Mullins-Ohm said.
Mullins-Ohm, an outfielder who plays at Southwest Oklahoma State, credited his pitcher, Clarinda coach Ryan Eberly.
“You have to have a guy who knows your strengths,” Mullins-Ohm said. “He knows right where I like it after throwing batting practice to me all summer.”
Anderson is the third Renegade in the four-year history of the franchise to finish second in the Home Run Derby, joining Cole Evans in 2017 and Quincy Jones in 2018.
“I was ready, I wanted to support the team and support the city,” Anderson said. “I took second, that’s how it goes.”