Home-run title up for grabs

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Last year, Dave Adler was one of 32 baseball players swinging for a title in the second annual home-run derby at Vanatta Field.

He came up a little short, taking third, but winning isn't the only reason he plans on returning to Vanatta on Saturday for another home-run derby appearance.

"The chicks dig the long ball," Adler said, when asked why he keeps coming back.

For event organizer Tommy Larson, the home-run derby isn't as much about impressing women as it is about ending the summer with the sport he loves -- baseball.

"This is one of the last chances we will get to play before the snow starts to fly," Larson said. "It's a great chance to get out and swing the bat one last time."

For $10, any player can enter the derby, which uses the same format as the home-run derby hosted by Major League Baseball during its all-star games.

Batters will be placed into random brackets, going head-to-head with another batter in each round.

Each players gets 10 outs per round to hit as many baseballs out of the park as possible. A batter will be charged with an out for any ball that fails to make it over the fence or lands foul.

After both batters have a turn, the player with the most homeruns will advance to the next round.

The derby will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Vanatta. The entry fee can be paid up to the start of the event.

Adler, who won the event two years ago, said there's no real trick to winning. However, he said it's important to rest and drink beer between rounds, if possible.

"It's just fun to get out there and blast away," Adler said. "You just have to pick out a good pitch and swing away."

Larson said three or four pitchers would be used in the event. Their job is to give the batters as many hittable balls as possible.

There will be a division for players 40 and older and another for younger players.

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