ROCKLAND COUNTY, NY – The Frontier League showed well in the 2019 Home Run Derby, as Washington Wild Things’ Hector Roa smacked 10 home runs in the final round, but was bested by Rockland Boulders own Grant Heyman to secure the win. Roa finished with 24 total home runs, which was second to Heyman’s 31.
Three total rounds were needed to determine a winner of the kickoff event of the Frontier and Can-Am League All-Star festivities, as four players from each league battled amongst each other to reach the dual league final. Former big leaguers Jesse Barfield, Mookie Wilson and John Flaherty also participated in the derby.
Roa competed against Frontier League representatives from Evansville and River City, which included Carlos Castro, Ryan Long and Braxton Martinez. Roa led the group with five home runs to move on to round two and watched as Castro and Martinez went to a 30 second overtime period after they both sent four out of the park. Martinez managed to move on, while Long, to his credit, totaled three home runs.
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Martinez would be eliminated in round two, but totaled nine home runs. Despite losing in the championship round, Roa made sure to enjoy the opportunity.
“Great experience,” Roa said. “It’s my first home run derby and I can tell you it’s very tiring, but once you find your groove and stay locked in it becomes easier. I want to give thanks to my pitcher and it was a great job to [Can-Am].”
The dimensions of Palisades Credit Union Park are 323 feet down the line in left, 408 feet in left-center, 403 feet to straightaway centerfield with about a 20-foot wall that also acts as the batters eye, but right field offers what the Boulders call a “short porch” listed at 312 feet. Roa took all of it into consideration once his name was called.
“First round I just wanted to eat and turn on some,” Roa said. “Second round I decided to drive some to right field with the short porch out there and then start working inside again.”
His Frontier League teammates supported him throughout the evening, getting up off their seats as Roa barreled up baseball after baseball. Despite competing against one another throughout the regular season, the All-Stars are able to use the week-long experience to bond.
“It’s great,” Roa said when asked about time spent with teammates. “We all build a great relationship and get to know each other. When we play against each other it’s only small talk, but the past two days it’s been great to get to know everyone.”
Roa will be one of several Frontier League representatives looking to take down the Can-Am League in the All-Star Game Wednesday evening in Rockland. For a full Frontier League All-Star roster, click HERE. For tickets, please visit rocklandboulders.com/allstarsummer2019. The game can be viewed live on canamleague.tv beginning at 6:45pm ET.
FRONTIER LEAGUE HOME RUN DERBY TOTALS
Hector Roa – 5
Braxton Martinez – 4
Carlos Castro – 4
Ryan Long – 3
Round One: OT
Martinez – 2
Castro – 1
Hector Roa – 9
Braxton Martinez – 5
Grant Heyman (Rockland Boulders) – 11
Hector Roa – 10