July 15, 2014

Windy City outfielder wins home run derby at GCS Ballpark

Taking advantage of a hitter-friendly GCS Ballpark on Tuesday, Windy City outfielder Kyle Robinson came out on top at the Frontier League All-Star Game Home Run Derby.

But Robinson needed a couple of extra swings to get the job done.

Tied with Lake Erie slugger Vincent Mejia with two home runs each in the final round, Robinson ended the drama on the second extra pitch when he hit a line drive which easily cleared the left-centerfield wall.

As the ball disappeared into the night, Robinson was swarmed over by his West Division teammates.

"It feels great and I especially enjoyed that celebration by my teammates,'' Robinson said. "It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life.''

A crowd of 1,612 was on hand to watch 10 of the top power hitters in the Frontier League showcase their talents on a cool, breezy summer night.

The Chicago Bandits, a professional women's softball team, then took on a group of Frontier League all-stars in a softball contest to conclude the activities for the day.

The Frontier League all-star game is set for 7:05 p.m. Wednesday at GCS Ballpark. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the gate.

Mejia, who has six home runs for Lake Erie, also found GCS Ballpark to his liking. The powerfully built Mejia led all hitters with 20 home runs in the first two rounds -- including 12 in the second round.

Robinson had 15 home runs to qualify for the finals -- with 10 coming in the opening round.

Going first in the finals, Robinson made outs with his first three swings then hit two home runs with his last four at bats.

Mejia appeared to be in control after hitting a pair over the wall, but failed with his final three swings.

Both hitters came up short with their first swings in the playoff and after Mejia came up short with his second swing, Robinson didn't.

"I don't think fatigue was a factor for me in that last round. I just tightened up a little bit,'' Robinson said. "It was a good night to hit. The wind blowing out was a factor and the short porch also helped.''

Josh Ludy of River City (13 home runs) and Shayne Houck of Evansville (9) also advanced into the semifinals.''

Hometown favorite Michael Wing of Gateway failed to advance out of the first round. Wing had four home runs

Also eliminated from the competition after the first round were Mike Schwartz of Normal (1 home run), Russell Moldenhauer (2), Joe Rapp of Frontier (4), Stewart IJames of Washington (5) and Joe Staley of Florence (7).

Staley and Houck tied for the fourth and final berth in the semifinals. But Houck won the playoff 6-5.

All-Star game notes: East St. Louis native and two- time Olympic heptathlon champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the start of the home run derby on Tuesday.

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