Drake Westcott’s long-ball bat will be used for a good cause.
The sophomore at Edwardsville High School, who has verbally committed to Louisville, will compete in the 12th annual International Power Showcase from Dec. 27-31 at Marlins Park in Miami.
With each home run hit, participants raise money for a specific cause. Westcott will be swinging for SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis and Team Cody. Cody Warner, a junior at Vandalia High School, is battling Atypical Ewing’s Sarcoma. He is the brother of a player on Westcott’s club team.
“I think it’s a really good opportunity to do something I love and also to benefit people with childhood cancer,” Westcott said.
Wescott finished second in the event last December, raising $5,225 through donations and pledges. There were 30 participants in 2016.
Westcott was edged 10-9 in the final round last year after hitting 16 homers in the first round. Last year, only metal bats were used. Westcott said he hit one ball off a speaker beyond the right-field upper deck.
Dimensions at Marlins Park are 335 feet to right field, 392 feet to right-center, 407 feet to center, 386 feet to left-center and 344 feet to left field.
Players will receive 20 outs — five with wood bats, 15 with metal bats. The top two finishers, and perhaps a wild-card competitor, will square off in the finals. This will be the first year players will use wood bats.
“It’s really neat,” said Westcott, who will be the only participant from Illinois. “I’m hoping to hit around 30. In the winter, all I do is train with wood, so I really like to use wood (bats). In the summer, all the Perfect Game tournaments are wood bats, and there’s a Perfect Game home-run derby that uses wood bats.
“When you square up (a ball) with a wood bat, it feels like you barely did anything at all. It just flies.”
Westcott enjoys hitting in the same major-league park Giancarlo Stanton previously called home.
“It’s really fun, especially when you hit them in the upper deck. It’s a cool feeling to know you can actually hit a ball that far,” said Westcott, noting that former National League Most Valuable Players Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant competed in the International Power Showcase as young prospects.
“I was thinking, ‘Wow, these guys did it when they were a year older than me and now they’re in the major leagues,” Westcott said. “It’s kind of cool to be doing the same thing they were doing when they were 16. That’s what I’m working for. That would be amazing.”
Westcott won the Kernels Foundation Home Run Derby at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The event was sponsored by Perfect Game USA, which was holding a 35-team tournament from eight states. Westcott was the lone sophomore in the derby, yet took the title against players two years older.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Wescott batted .435 with 12 home runs and 39 RBIs as a freshman, helping the Tigers place second at the Class 4A state tournament. He committed to Louisville in May, choosing the Cardinals over Mississippi, Indiana, Purdue and Alabama.
For more information on the International Power Showcase, visit powershowcase.com. People can donate to Westcott’s cause by calling Melissa Westcott (618-567-1886) or Brad Westcott (618-530-0368).