Weather Moves Derby To August

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The Second Annual Mazatzal Casino Payson Parks and Recreation Charity Home Run Derby has been rescheduled and expanded.

Originally the event was to be held July 16, but lightning and rain forced postponement only minutes before the 5 p.m. start time.

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Softball hitters of all ages are eligible to enter a Parks and Recreation-sponsored Home Run Derby when it is held Aug. 1. The registration deadline is 5 p.m., July 29.

After calling for the rain-out, town recreation specialist Charlene Hunt huddled with her staff and decided to reschedule the competition for 5:15 p.m., Aug. 1, set a new registration deadline of 5 p.m. July 29 and add a 20-years-and-under division.

The event will be held at the Rumsey II field.

The registration fee of $45 for each three-person adult team will remain the same. The entry fee for the 20-years-and-under division is $30.

The younger, newly established division is sponsored by the parks and recreation department only and entrants will not be playing for the charity money for which the adult divisions are competing.

"Winners in it will be awarded separate prizes," Hunt said. "And there will be men's and women's divisions."

Hunt said a youth division was added this year due to the interest shown by younger hitters.

"We couldn't just lower the age in the adult division because the derby is being co-sponsored by the casino and to be eligible for the prizes, they (the entrants) must be 21 (years old)."

The defending champs

At the inaugural Home Run Derby held last year, Scott Nossek teamed with Matt Sopeland and Rick Finley on the Mountain Bible Church squad to slug a total of 50 home runs and claim the title. Nossek hit 24 home runs, Sopeland had 15 and Finley swatted 11.

Former Lady Longhorn softball star Molly Hunt joined forces on Hot Ice Two with Nina Ray and Melodi Deaton to win first place. Together they had 39 circuit blasts. Ray hit 10 and Deaton had nine.

In the men's division, the Rim Region trio of Donnie Garvin (11), Wayne Loy (19) and Will Dietz (18) punched out 48 round trip tickets to finish as runners-up.

The team of Mike Barr (16), Chad Martin (16) and Steve Sachak (13) slugged 45 home runs to finish third.

James Deaton (12), Clay Sopeland (14) and Matt Woolwine (16) were fourth with 42 home runs.

Second place among the women was garnered by the Hot Stix threesome of Toni Waugh (13), Tammy Felton (7) and Deniese O'Donnell (4).

Hot Ice Three, comprised of Cherry Nottingham (4), Cheri Brennan (1) and Marci Sanders (7) finished third with 12 home runs.

Hot Ice One managed four blasts and was fourth. On the team were Sandee Koon (two), Traci Hoffman (two) and Julie Ashby (0).

The rules

In the adult competition, each three-person team will be playing for prize money to be donated to a local nonprofit organization of their choice.

The prizes to be donated by the Mazatzal Casino are:

  • $500 for 1st place
  • $300 for 2nd place
  • $100 for 3rd place.

All players will receive a T-shirt and trophies will be awarded to the top three teams in each division.

The derby will feature both men's and women's divisions. For the women, the home run fence will be moved in to 200 feet from home plate. For the men, a home run is one hit over the regulation Rumsey II fence.

Also, the women will hit an 11-inch softball commonly used in most recreation leagues. The men will hit a 12-inch softball.

Hitters will supply their own pitchers. Pitches must be underhand and with an arch of 6 to 12 feet above the ground.

The good news for power hitters is that all bats are legal.

Which means, the high-dollar bats that are banned in ASA play can be used. Among those bats are the Worth Wicked, Easton Synergy Plus, Ultra and Ultra 2.

Balls hit off those bats -- which can cost more than $300 -- travel farther and with more velocity because some are built with a combination of fiberglass and graphite and others are double-wall titanium.

"There is no such thing as an illegal bat in this," Hunt said. "And we won't be using restricted flight softballs, they can bring their .50 core balls which are illegal in most tournaments."

The tournament will begin with an opening round in which entrants are given 15 pitches. In the second round, they receive 10 pitches.

After the home runs for each team are calculated, the top four teams from both rounds will advance to the finals.

In the final round, each team begins with a zero score and players receive 15 pitches each.

In case of ties, a sudden death one-pitch tie breaker will be used.

For more information, call Hunt at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.

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