Brandon Jaurez won the 14U Division, and Hunter Tyson captured the 12U title during the second annual MLB Jr. Home Run Derby in conjunction with MLB All-Star Week Miami on Saturday morning, July 8 at Marlins Park.
The distance to hit a homer was modified for the age group players with a low make-shift fence. The top two home run hitters in each division after one round of 20 pitches from a pitching machine participated in a 1-on-1 battle for the national title.
Tony Reagins, the Sr. Vice President of Youth Programs for Major League Baseball, discussed the MLB Jr. Home Run Derby.
In each division, there were eight qualifiers from throughout the United States. They won three events (local, regional, team) to reach the national championships at Marlins Park, home of the Miami Marlins.
Juarez really enjoyed his first visit to Marlins Park. He totaled 29 home runs in two rounds at nationals. He hit 14 in the opening round, tops of anyone, and then bested his own mark with 15 more in the finals. Juarez resides in Evansville, Ind., which is where Miami Marlins Manager Don Mattingly grew up. He competes for the Golfmoor Panthers and Helfrich Park Middle School baseball teams.
Josh Redding of Lubbock, Texas was the runner-up with 10 home runs in the first round and seven in the finale.
In the 12U competition, Tyson belted nine home runs, tying Luziano Casados of Albuquerque, N.M. for first, which sent both to the championship round. Tyson then equaled his mark with nine more homers to win the award. He lives in Ocilla, Ga., and he plays for the Five Star National Mafia travel team, Irwin County rec team and Irwin County Middle School team.
12U national qualifers: Luziano Casados, Albuquerque, N.M.; Braylen Lee, Oakland, Ky.; RJ Ruais, McKinney, Texas; Dakota Thomas, Lincoln, Neb.; Hunter Tyson, Ocilla, Ga.; Jakob Schulz, Mercer Island, Wash.; KJ Scobey, Lakeland, Fla.; Nazier Mule, Paterson, N.J.
14U national qualifers: Brayan Doran, Indio, Calif.; Brandon Juarez, Evansville, Ind.; Cole Krawczyk, Phoenix, Ariz.; Ezra Mason, Bradenton, Fla.; Matthew Mebane, Hilton Head, S.C.; Jeremy Rader, Springfield, Mo.; Josh Redding, Lubbock, Texas; Joe Schulte, Cheswick, Pa.
Juarez and Tyson will be recognized at the T-Mobile MLB Home Run Derby on Monday, July 10 at Marlins Park.
The Jr. Home Run Derby is an MLB skills competition that has provided thousands of kids, age 14 and younger, an opportunity to participate in a fun-focused home run hitting contest in more than 1,500 competitions across the United States. MLB paid for all expenses for each national qualifier and chaperone.
The Stamford Sluggers girls’ baseball team and the Tampa Bay Rays Pony League baseball team shagged balls in the outfield and over the fence during the event. The Sluggers, from Connectcut, and the Rays are participating in the MLB 12U All-Star Youth Classic at Grapeland Park.
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