By: Paul Fritschner – The 2017 college home run derby was held at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday. Competing in the event at the annual site of the College World Series was Niko Hulsizer, a member of the Alexandria Aces in 2016. Last summer, Hulsizer hit two home runs in 34 games for the Aces. This year at Morehead State, Hulsizer hit 27 home runs, two fewer than the nation’s leader who hit 29. His displays of power during the college season earned him a spot in the derby, and he did not disappoint.
— Alexandria Aces (@Alexandria_Aces) July 2, 2017
This was the second year that the college derby utilized the timed-round format as Major League Baseball uses for their derby. Previously, hitters were allowed ten outs, and any ball hit that wasn’t a home run was an out. Money balls, or pitches thrown after the four minute round concludes, counted for two towards their total score.
Hulsizer jumped out to an early lead, mashing 19 home runs in the first round alone. He didn’t quite match that total in the second round, but he came very close, finishing with 16 (35 total); good enough to earn himself a spot in the championship round.
It was nerve wracking in the final round for Hulsizer who smacked 15 homers but finished with a score of 17 because of a home run on the money ball. The other finalist, Chandler Taylor from Alabama, ended the four minute round with a score of 16, but failed to hit a home run on the money ball pitch, which meant that Hulsizer had taken home the title. He finished with 49 home runs on the evening, and that total tied him for the second-most ever hit in the event.
With all of the good things happening to the 2017 Alexandria Aces, this is yet another positive piece of news for an Aces organization that is continuing to trend in the right direction.