BOSTON—Conditions were not conducive to big displays of power at Fenway Park this afternoon. A thick, drizzly fog settled in around the ballpark, and the wind was gusting in from center field, knocking down a number of drives toward the Green Monster in left. But Harwich’s Connor Powers (Mississippi State) connected for three home runs over the monster in the opening round of the Cape Cod League’s home run hitting contest, then slugged two more in the championship round to defeat Cotuit’s Connor Rupp (Texas), who substituted for Kevin Patterson (Auburn).
"That wind was killing a lot of balls today, but that’s what you go for," Powers said, referring to his strategy to take aim at the Green Monster. "I’m not going to the opposite field—I’m looking to pull it. It’s definitely something I’ll never forget."
Powers is the second Mississippi State slugger to fare well in the Cape’s home run derby in three years, joining Mitch Moreland, who put on a show in Wareham in 2007 before losing to Luke Murton in the finals. Powers said afterward that he was going to call Moreland, who is now playing for Double-A Frisco in the Rangers system.
Powers did not put on the kind of power display that Moreland did two years ago, but he did hit a shot off one of the banners behind the Monster seats and a screaming line drive off the base of the light tower above the Monster in the first round. Powers and Rupp each hit three homers in that round (though Rupp went last and needed just nine outs to hit three long balls). Rupp’s final shot went to dead center, one of just two home runs that did not go over the Monster. The lefthanded-hitting Hunter Morris (Auburn) hit the other, wrapping a towering fly around the Pesky Pole in right center for his only homer.
Brett Eibner (Arkansas) also hit just one home run, but it was a blast, over the Monster seats and out onto Lansdowne Street. He also hit two fly balls high off the Monster that did not get out. Harold Martinez (Miami) hit two big homers to left, and Jedd Gyorko (West Virginia) went homerless, leading off the event.
In the finals, Powers got the best of Rupp, two homers to one.
Now it’s time for the all-star game, which was scheduled to start around 7 p.m. but has been moved up a few minutes due to the threat of rain increasing this evening. I just hope we can get a few innings in, because it looks very unlikely we’ll get the whole game in. Despite the weather, the crowd here is terrific—more than 13,000 fans have filled most of the infield seating bowl here at Fenway. And, of course, there are dozens of scouts crammed into the seats behind home plate, where I’m currently sitting.
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