In 2009, when Bryce Harper put on a show at the International Power Showcase High School Home Run Derby but eventually lost to now-South Carolina slugger Christian Walker, we likened the event to the 2008 Major League Home Run Derby when Josh Hamilton wowed the baseball world but eventually lost to Justin Morneau.
Just last week, the fifth annual Power Showcase took place at Chase Field in Phoenix and Dan Vogelbach put on his own shown that resembled Bobby Abreu's performance in the 2005 major league version. Abreu hit a then-record 24 home runs in the first round on his way to beating Ivan Rodriguez. Vogelbach, a 2011 first baseman from Bishop Verot High in Fort Myers, crushed 19 home runs in his first round last week and added 11 in the championship round to win the Power Showcase's fifth annual derby. One of his home runs traveled 508 feet, a record for the event previously held by Travis Harrison (504 feet) and Harper (502 feet).
Baseball America's Conor Glassey caught up with Vogelbach over the phone for a quick Q&A:
Conor Glassey: First off, congratulations! Tell me, how did it feel to win it all?
Dan Vogelbach: It felt good. Last year I went and I didn't do so well, and it was kind of like I came back to prove a point that I can hang with the best players in the world. That's what it is. These are some of the best players and I'll continue to play against them throughout my career.
CG: Do you think participating last year helped prepare you for this year?
DV: I think so. The biggest thing is not being so anxious and being patient. You know you can hit or you wouldn't be there. I think the biggest thing is just staying within yourself. So I think being there last year really helped be more patient and just stay within yourself.
CG: How about everything you've done this summer, from Tournament of Stars to hitting well in Jupiter, how do you think all that helped you?
DV: I think that helped a lot. I played against the best players in the country all summer. I got to do some great things, but I think no matter the outcome of everything this summer, it was a plus to everything and it always helped me move on to the next thing.
CG: What was going through your head when you were participating in the derby?
DV: Just to have fun. It's a thing that not many people get to do. It's my senior year and I just want to make every moment last and just have fun with everything. I got in a little groove and it started to become a lot more fun once I started to hit a lot more.
CG: How many did you hit and how many were with metal and how may were with wood?
DV: I only hit one with wood. We only did one round with wood. And then I hit a total of 30. The furthest one was 508 feet. I think I broke a world record.
CG: I heard about that. Tell me about that one.
DV: I thought I broke the record earlier in the home run derby. I mean, I hit one in the triple deck and they said it only went 476. I thought it went a lot further than that. But then in the championship, I ran into a ball and it felt good coming off the bat.
CG: Where did that one go?
DV: It was to right center.
CG: You're a great hitter out there—you can always hit for average and power, but you're a guy that always has to go out there and prove himself. So what does this mean for you to win something like this?
DV: It means a lot for me. Nothing's come easy for me throughout life. I've always had to work for stuff. So it feels good to win something like this because it kind of proves that hard work does pay off and I have a lot more goals to accomplish in 2011 and hopefully hard work will keep paying off.
CG: It must have felt extra good to go out there and hit some home runs in a big league park.
DV: Yeah, that's a neat thing to do. Like I said, not many people play in a major league park and to do a home run derby in one is pretty cool.
Vogelbach's remarkable performance netted most of the event's awards as well as he was recognized for the most home runs in a round (19), most overall (30), most consecutive (5, done three different times) and longest (508 feet).
Burleson (Texas) High first baseman Levi Scott took home the award for most wood bat home runs with four while Desert Vista High (Phoenix) catcher Shaun Chase hit the longest wood bat home run (436 feet). The five derby finalists were 2012 outfielder Nick Williams (Ball HS, Galveston, Texas), 2011 first baseman Gabe Craven (Summerville, S.C., HS), 2011 third baseman Ryan Wagner (Wheat Ridge, Colo., HS), Chase and Vogelbach.
Photo by Jeff Horton
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