SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Over 5,000 fans packed Four Winds Field on Monday night to watch Chris Betts and Alek Thomas duel it out in the 2019 Midwest League Home Run Derby championship round. On a walk-off bomb on his final swing deep over the right field wall, Betts tossed a legendary bat flip as he was covered with the Gatorade shower.
The day started with autographs from both the East and West Division All-Stars. Afterwards, Chicago Cubs legends Andre Dawson, Fergie Jenkins, Leon Durham, Steve Trout, and Mitch Williams signed for the fans in attendance. Once the autographs were done, it was derby time.
Nolan Gorman and Chris Williams started the tournament. That was followed by Jerar Encarnacion versus Alek Thomas, Chris Betts versus Niko Hulsizer, and Jake Brodt versus Jonathan Sierra.
Betts was feeling it from the start. With seven home runs in the first round to beat Hulsizer 7-6, he crushed nine in the second round following by eight in the championship. Thomas, who came in as the smallest player and underdog, fought his way to the title round with six, four, and seven.
In the championship, Thomas was rested and crushed seven, but Betts’ walk-off beat him as he was congratulated by every All-Star in the dugout. He was presented with the championship plaque and $1,000 cash. Thomas received $500 as the runner-up.
The Home Run Derby sets up a battle of the division’s tomorrow night at 7:35 p.m. Gates will open at 5:30. East Division All-Stars will sign autographs from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. followed by the West All-Stars from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m.