Thursday, February 14, 2008

Jones Swats Zeile in Swing Off!

Valerio Velasquez - Cobb Times Herald

It was a clash of the titans at Pawtuckets McCoy Stadium in the 2nd annual Cobb World Home Run Derby as Sioux Falls slugger Vernon Jones outlasted Chicago Sabercats star Kip Zeile in a swing off of epic proportions. The derby started off with the Corn Cleats catcher serving notice to the league that he was there to win when he knocked out 11 dingers in the first round, including a derby high crusher at 527 feet. Jackson Pollocks SS Domingo Montana followed with a respectable 6 home runs, and perennial all star Jose Barrios of the Omaha Sluggers didn't perform to his potential with only 4 home runs. Corn Cleat RF Hades Booker attempted to match his teammate but came up one home run short, finishing with 10 in the first round. After Bookers impressive display, Zeile stunned the crowd with a whopping 14 home runs in the qualifying round. Newcomers Samuel Kennedy of Charlotte, R. J. Cubillan of Pittsburgh, and Brace Davey of Kansas city couldn't overcome their awe of Zeile, and only managed 4, 3, and 2 home runs, respectively.

That set the stage for the final four, where Zeile continued his home run eruption with an astounding 8 dingers, double the next highest total of 4, which belonged to Jones. Barrios and Booker bowed out with a paltry 1 homer apiece, leaving the two established clubbers to take the center stage for the finals.

Jones then took the plate to start the final round, and started off the round with a 515 foot shot that wowed the crowd. He crushed several more over 500 feet, and finished the round with 6 home runs. Zeile then stepped up to a thundering chorus of boos from the Pawtucket crowd, and belted 6 home runs to match Jones total, including several shots that barely made it over the fence. It was then left to be decided in a swing off. Jones was up first and promptly smacked a home run down the rightfield line. Zeile matched the feat with a shot to right, but Jones was up to the task and belted another home run to nearly the same spot as before. Zeile had the chance to match, but could only muster a weak fly to center, leaving Jones the victor.

After the match, Jones was thrilled. "I dedicate this win to all my peeps in Sioux Falls, and I couldn't have won it against a more worthy opponant, Zeile was amazing," said the Corn Cleat catcher. Zeile continued his media boycott and refused to comment to the Times Herald, but his agent offered a signed glossy print for the occasion. In honor of Jones derby victory, the Sioux Falls franchise will be offering a "King on the King" night, where all fans will get a free whopper from Burger King to enjoy while they watch the Corn Cleats play the Toledo Tsunamis.

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