Congratulations to North Augusta’s Matthew Mebane on winning the first MLB Junior Home Run Derby for the 12 years and under age group. Mebane won the competition Saturday afternoon at Petco Park in San Diego. The event is new this year and part of the MLB All Star break.
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) – Matthew Mebane is just 12 years old but he can hammer a baseball.
“I just starting copying some of the Major Leaguers’ stances and the bigger I got, the farther I could hit [the ball],” Mebane said. “Most of my friends can’t hit the ball very far cause they’re mostly small. I mean, they hit the ball for average instead of home runs.”
But his ability to hit home runs is just one thing is friends envy. Mebane will be hitting long balls at Petco Park next month — home of the San Diego Padres. He played his way into Major League Baseball’s first Junior Home Run Derby, which will take place during the All-Star break in July.
“I was super excited, and now I get to tell my friends all about it and they’re jealous,” Mebane said.
Matthew’s father, Frank Mebane will be making the trip with his son to San Diego.
“You know, he watches MLB all the time and we were watching somebody play at Petco Park and we were saying, ‘you’re going to be standing at home plate just like that,'” Frank Mebane said.
He’ll be one of just 16 participants at the Home Run Derby with eight in his 14 and under age group. Mebane had to win the local qualifying at the GreenJackets’ Lake Olmstead Stadium first, and then beat out over 40 kids at the Southeast Regional outside of Atlanta for the one ticket to San Diego.
“Maybe after the first round, I started thinking ‘I got this,'” Matthew Mebane said. “I had like 7 [home runs] and he had four [home runs] with four pitches left, so after that pitch I knew that I had either tied or won, so I was going crazy.”
Mebane had hit seven home runs off 20 pitches in each of the two rounds to win the Southeast qualifier and the ultimate trip for him and his dad — but that’s not all.
“We fly home during the All-Star Game, which is fine, because we leave for Cooperstown right after that,” Frank Mebane said.
That’s right, the Mebane family already had a trip planned to Cooperstown, New York to check out the Baseball Hall of Fame.
“It’s like everything I could ever dream of in summer,” Matthew Mebane said.
Mebane will compete in the Junior Home Run Derby on July 9th, which is two days before the MLB Home Run Derby and three days before the MLB All-Star Game.