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Friday, September 24, 2021

Polar Bear hits ball far, wins HR Derby

Former Gator Pete Alonso took home his second straight Home Run Derby title Monday

Pete Alonso holds the champions trophy after winning the MLB All Star baseball Home Run Derby, Monday, July 12, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Pete Alonso holds the champions trophy after winning the MLB All Star baseball Home Run Derby, Monday, July 12, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Former Gator and current New York Met Pete Alonso took down the likes of Salvador Perez, Juan Soto and Trey Mancini en route to his second consecutive home run derby title.

Alonso wasted no time getting into a groove in the first round against Kansas City Royals’ catcher Perez. The Polar Bear launched 35 dingers in the opening round, breaking the 13-year-old first-round record of 28 set by Josh Hamilton in 2008. The Met smacked two balls over 510 feet in the opening frame and waltzed into a second round matchup with Soto.

The first baseman continued his dominance in round two. Soto led things off with 15 homers, but the Nationals outfielder was clearly drained after a double-overtime first round battle against Shoehei Ohtani. Alonso put it in cruise control to finish the round and surpassed Soto in just over two minutes to advance to the final round. Now, just Orioles’ outfielder Mancini stood in between Alonso and back-to-back derby victories.

Alonso sauntered his way to the plate, hungry for another title. Mancini made sure the Polar Bear earned his meal in the final round, however. The outfielder hit 22 home runs in two minutes to put pressure on Alonso. The Met cracked 17 home runs before a minute of bonus time gave him one final gasp at the title. 

He didn’t need the full minute. The slugger crushed six straight dingers to take home his second straight million-dollar title.

Alonso is just the third player to win back-to-back home run derbys, joining Hall-of-Famer Ken Griffey Jr (1998 and 1999) and Yoenis Céspedes (2013 and 2014). He became the first player to hit 100 career home runs in the derby, and he stood with131 after Monday night.

With the derby cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, Alonso’s debut victory came in 2019. He smashed 57 home runs and took down Toronto’s Vlad Guerrero Jr. in Cleveland two years ago to claim his first crown. After this year’s victory in Colorado, the Polar Bear could attempt to go for the first ever three-Pete in 2022 in Los Angeles.

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Michael Hull

Michael Hull is a third-year journalism major with a specialization in sports & media. He has a minor in business and leadership and is a struggling Jacksonville Jaguars fan.


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