Sports

Maple Ridge slugger a finalist at Power Showcase home run derby

Tyler O
Tyler O'Neill
— image credit: News file photo

The event is billed the “Power Showcase,” and Maple Ridge slugger Tyler O’Neill did indeed get a chance to display his long ball proclivity.

The Power Showcase in Miami, Fla. on Jan. 31 brought together about 160 of the top power hitting baseball prospects from around the world.

They each were given 15 “outs” to attempt to hit as many homers as possible. O’Neill was among the five finalists after hammering five taters in the first round.

His best cleared the wall at Marlins Park and sailed an impressive 434 feet. In the words of fictional catcher Crash Davis “anything travels that far oughta have a damn stewardess on it.”

“I put everything I had into it,” said the Langley Blaze third baseman and catcher. “I didn’t really feel it. You hit it on the sweet spot, and it just flies.”

He’s not sure if it was the longest ball he has ever hit. O’Neill has hit some tape-measure jobs in the past, but they were only estimated for distance.

In the final he managed one home run, but everyone was upstaged by David Denson. The 17-year-old from California mashed a 515-foot homer, which is the farthest ever at Marlin’s Park. He hit three that went over 500 feet, 19 taters in total, and dominated the competition in a style that hasn’t been seen in the seven years of the Power Showcase.

“He got the job done,” noted O’Neill.

There were 107 young power hitters at the showcase, and they came from Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Holland and 10 different nations across the globe.

“It was great,” said O’Neill. “I met some good kids, and had a good time.”

Next up for O’Neill are trips with the Canadian junior national team, which will travel to Orlando, Florida for about 10 days in April, and then do another 10-day junket to Santo Domingo in May for the Dominican Summer League.

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