Pair will get to participate in Junior Home Run Derby for All-Star weekend
By Chad Thornburg
Nick Storz emerged as the winner in the inaugural USA Baseball Home Run Derby on Friday, narrowly edging past Jordon Adell at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.
As the top finishers, both Storz and Adell will be among the field of eight players at the Junior Home Run Derby during MLB's All-Star Weekend next month at Petco Park in San Diego.
"It's a tremendous opportunity," Storz, an LSU commit from Brooklyn, N.Y., told USABaseball.com after the event. "It's huge. I remember watching the Home Run Derby every year and seeing the high school kids, so to be one of those kids, it's an absolute dream come true. I can't wait."
Storz is a 6-foot-6, 245-pound pitcher who hasn't even had an at-bat in the Tournament of Stars, but he only recently converted to the mound after primarily serving as a catcher in high school. He was also a Division I recruit as a tight end before giving up the gridiron to concentrate on baseball.
"I mean, I just gotta show 'em that pitchers can hit a little bit," Storz said.
Adell is a two-way player from Prospect, Ky. who is committed to Louisville. The 6-foot-3, 198-pound pitcher/outfielder said he was happy to see how he handled being in the spotlight.
"It's an honor to be out here for USA, and to be out with the kids and having such a great time tonight," said Adell. "Being able to come out here under pressure, it's awesome for me to come out here and know that I can do that."
Friday's event featured 24 players -- eight of the top 18U hitters and 16 players from the USA Futures Invitational. They were divided into two teams, with the Red squad defeating Blue, 17-15. Tampa Bay-native Aiden Miller, 12, led the way with five home runs in the team competition.
"Just stay short to the ball, and it's like I do it in the game," Miller told USABaseball.com. "Just drive it."
In the individual portion, Storz and Adell each hit two home runs in the first round. Storz pulled ahead with six in the final round, while Adell hit five.
"The first time, I kind of let the nerves get to me a little bit," Storz told USABaseball.com. "I was getting under it, but the second time I just tried to keep it simple and do it like I do every time I hit, and that was really it."
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.