Yerzy soaks in Home Run Derby experience

Photo: Baseball Canada

Photo: Baseball Canada

By: Bob Elliott

CINCINNATI _ Andrew Yerzy yearned for a better result.

And perhaps he should have had one ... a win.

Last year when Mississauga’s Josh Naylor qualified the Junior Home Run Derby final at Target Field in Minneapolis he was the second qualifier and was told he’d have to win the final outright.

Yerzy won on Sunday, but when he and Ron Washington Jr. of Missouri City, Tex. each hit 12 during commercial breaks Monday night it was declared a tie. The University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish commit won Sunday 10-9. 

“I would have preferred to win,” said Yerzy, the Toronto Mets catcher, who rubbed shoulders with derby competitors Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, both from the Chicago Cubs and Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers in front of the first base dugout. Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays was on the other side of the field.

“It was fun to soak it all it, I’ve never played in front of that many people before,” said Yerzy, 17.

No, the Mets don’t draw 43,000 to Bond Park, Talbot Park or Kinsmen Stadium in Oshawa. 

Yerzy said he spoke with Russell Martin of the Blue Jays during batting practice. 

His Mets coaches Ryan McBride, Honsing Leung, plus former minor leaguers Hyung Cho and John Mariotti were in Ohio with him. Yerzy, who hit nine homers in the first round for a 9-6 lead Monday night. Washington won the second round 6-3.

Now, Yerzy heads to Indianapolis to join his Mets teammates for a tourney. And what’s the first time he will tell them?

“Just how crazy the atmosphere was when Reds’ Todd Frazier beat Prince Fielder,” said Yerzy.

And the Jr. Home Run Derby’s prediction on who would win among the big boys?

“Pederson,” said Yerzy with four head-to-head competitions remaining. 

Pederson was edged in the final when Frazier edged him by one homer.