The home field advantage theory worked in favor of Karl Koerper.
The St. Joseph Mustangs first baseman won the MINK League Home Run Derby on Wednesday night with seven home runs in the final round.
“It’s always awesome, especially to have everybody cheering for me, it definitely helped out,” Koerper said.
Koerper, the No. 2 seed in the bracket, faced No. 4 Noal Metcalf in the final round of the derby.
Metcalf hit 13 home runs in each of the first two rounds. Koerper hit a combined seven.
As the higher seed in his first two rounds, Koerper was given the option to hit first or second. He opted for second both times.
“I just had to hit the mark for every round — I got lucky that I didn’t have to face him in the early rounds,” Koerper said.
He also hit second in the final round where Metcalf hit six. Koerper’s seven home runs earned him the title of champion — even though Metcalf outscored him 32-14.
Typically batters hit with wooden bats, but the change to aluminum bats was made for the home run derby.
“I think guys hit it farther, they have more confidence, and you give the fans something they want to see, so it’s kinda cool,” said Craig McAndrews, Sedalia Bombers head coach and North division head coach.
Sedalia was supposed to host the derby, but McAndrews said the field wasn’t available.
“I think this is the best spot to have it,” McAndrews said. “It’s a really good environment, so I’m just glad (the Mustangs) are hosting.”
McAndrews also threw to Koerper for his derby at-bats.
“If you’re a left-hander in this park, you’re gonna love it, and he did a great job,” McAndrews said.