By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
Daniel Nikitovic chose to use wood.
And Nikitovic (Mississauga, Ont.) a graduate of the Ontario Blue Jays program hit five bombs in the home run derby at the 11th annual International POWER SHOWCASE at Miami Marlins Park.
Not enough to win the College Select derby, yet not bad for the Northeast Texas Eagles outfielder. How many Community College freshman have five homers in a major-league park?
This is the same event Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) dominated as a high schooler before being selected by the Marlins in the first round.
New this year was the college division which saw New Jersey’s Brian Mayer, 22, of the University of Delaware slug his way past Florida’s Keivan Berges. After advancing with eight home runs in the preliminary round, Mayer hit 16 in the final. He hit five consecutive -- his longest 475 feet -- while his farthest was a 491 feet in the preliminaries.
Berges, 25, from Keiser University, fell short in the final depositing 13 longballs out of Marlins Park. He finished with 30 homers in all, after leading the prelims with 17, and his longest went 448 feet.
Corbin Weeks had five homers in the prelims, his longest was 431 feet. Nikitovic stayed with the wood bat for his entire round, hitting five homers with his longest 399 feet. Nikitovic ran a 6.5 60 and his arm velocity from the outfield was clocked at 90 MPH, something for coach Austin Knight to look forward to when North East takes the field.
C Kyle Bryan (Whitby, Ont.) who plays for coach Nigel Wilson’s Ontario Yankees hit three out during his home run derby.
Bryan also caught in the all star game and went 1-for-3 and had time at first base as well. Bryan, who also plays for Sinclair Secondary School and coach Geoffry Whent, hit .386 with two homers. In Miami he showed a 1.9 pop time with arm velocity of 75 MPH while being clocked 7.2 in the 60-yard dash.
The Yankees finished first in the FAAST Sport Summer World Series last summer in Michigan as well as being the MVP at Sinclair.