On Saturday September 18th, 16 brave souls and a smattering of familial onlookers gathered on a sloppy baseball field in the city of Kent, WA to experience the thrill of plastic-on-plastic power surges and friendly competition. An event two months in the making was finally actualized, and even the disgusting weather took a break out of respect for the cause. It had rained heavily the night before, leaving home plate gasping for air.
Thankfully, one of the competitors (@dogjutsu) had a replacement home plate in his vehicle, waiting for this moment. There is no fence in a Trident Deck home run derby, for practical reasons. The boundaries were marked off with cones, and right-handed batters were warned to watch out for the Bermuda Triangle in right-center — a small area where the home run line inexplicably juts about 10 feet further out. Every ballpark has its quirks.
For those who did not attend and have not experienced the glory of a Trident Deck home run derby, here’s a basic rundown of the rules: Each batter gets 10 outs. All non-homer contact is an out (we don’t punish swings and misses here). Normal enough so far, right? But that’s not all. There are two outfielders plus the pitcher in the field. If these three fielders can combine to catch 5 consecutive balls in the air, the batter is done regardless of how many outs they have. Their home runs still count, but they do not get to continue. This happened to two of our competitors — one of whom ended up winning it all, so by no means is it a death sentence. For those fortunate enough to avoid this fate, upon reaching 10 outs they are forced to walk to the other side of the plate and bat opposite-handed as they attempt to hit a special “money ball” which counts double, if dingered. Ludicrous claims were made that organizer Shane Hall was making up the rules as he went along, a la Calvinball. He firmly denies this and says these very stupid rules are set in stone.
The single-round record was set by Sam (@SammyFletchino3), with 12 in the first round. The day was not lacking drama, as each round had to have a swing-off to determine one or more who would advance, and Shane struggled to do simple math.
The afternoon concluded in the only way it possibly could — complete chaos. After Shane and Nick (@TheREALNPolak) were eliminated in the semifinals, brothers Sam and Taylor faced off for the title and supreme bragging rights. With 8 outs recorded, Taylor launched his 9th home run of the round to tie Sam. Not content with beating him in regulation, Taylor made two more outs.
Previous swing-offs on this day were all about distance. But not this time — the wind was getting stronger, clouds were rolling in, and Noah (@noahsadork) was getting hungry. It was time to give the people what they really wanted: the potential for injury. This final swing-off would be a timed 30-second round for each. Most dingers wins. Sam and Taylor flailed desperately as the wind blew more and more. When the dust settled, Taylor had managed two homers to Sam’s one. And that was it. The first ever Trident Deck Charity Wiffle Ball Home Run Derby Champion. Congratulations to Taylor, and ALL who came to play. You’re all champions.
Now, the important stuff: through the lead up to this event, the day itself and the couple days that followed, we were able to raise money as a community for Low Income Housing Institute. Thank you so much to all who gave, supported, and spread the word. YOU are what makes this community special. Here are the happy totals:
Total amount raised for LIHI: $1600!
Home runs hit: 139!
Significant bodily injuries incurred: 0!
Positive vibes: Through the roof!
Thank you again to all and we can’t wait to see even more of you next year at the Second Annual Trident Deck Wiffle Ball Home Run Derby! Stay tuned!