On July 9th, the most powerful hitters in the League square off in the longest running tradition in Gateway Baseball. The Home Run Derby packs more power into one night than any other of the entire season. The two finalists of this event are awarded the All-Star title, and the winner earns his league 3 additional home games in the 2016 Gateway Championship. As All-Star Weekend approaches, the contestants for the Home Run Derby have been selected.
Hitting first and representing the National League will be last year’s Derby champion, Tony Francik (STL). Tony is currently tied for 4th in NL Home Runs, and has been gaining in that department since mid-May.
The American League’s first hitter will be rookie Dalton Kipper (JC). Dalton homered in his first career game at the beginning of this season, and has continued to improve.
Paul Crawford (DeS) will hit next for the National League. While only in his second season with Gateway Baseball, Paul is a veteran of the Weasel Baseball League, which disbanded after 2013. Paul has flashed big power in the first half, with a couple of multi-homer games to his credit.
The American League’s next hitter will be seeing Home Run Derby action for the first time since 2013, when Justin Smith (EA) makes his return to the event. Justin performed well in 2013, but has just recently returned to action after being picked up as a Reserve by the ASG host Athletics.
Representing the National League for the 4th time, Kyle Knisley (STL) will hit next. Kyle is on track for a career season, in second place in NL home runs (third overall), and hitting in the mid-400s during the season. Kyle has made the semi-finals every year, but has yet to reach the final round.
Jeremy Freese (JC) seems to have recently found his power again. Just last weekend, Freese powered a grand slam to opposite field to insure a victory. Jeremy is a 4-year Gateway veteran and founding member, who will look to add to his resume with his first All-Star title.
Corey Knisley (STL) is having another monster season, looking to repeat as Gateway MVP. With a third of the season remaining, Corey has already set a new single-season home run record, surpassed the 50 and 75 career home run marks, and is currently hitting above .500. Corey won the Home Run Derby back in 2013, but hasn’t seen the finals since.
Gateway fans may remember his crushing and untimely defeat just a year ago, but Tyler McCann (EA) is back with a chip on his shoulder. McCann is a Weasel veteran, along with Paul Crawford, but has made a name for himself in Gateway Baseball as well. He is currently sitting atop the American League home run standings, second overall only to Corey Knisley. As the captain of the host East Alton Athletics, McCann will have even more motivation to swing for the fences.
Portions of the 2016 GBL Home Run Derby will be broadcast live of Facebook from the official Gateway Bat Company page. Be sure to “like” the page by clicking here so that you can view the Derby in real time!