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Boys & Girls Clubs get boost from Derby

Boys & Girls Clubs get boost from Derby

NEW YORK -- Understandably, after watching Josh Hamilton's 28-homer first-round performance in the State Farm Home Run Derby, 14-year-old Tiffany Alvarez had little reason to think Justin Morneau could catch up.

"I kind of lost hope," Alvarez said.

But Morneau came back and edged Hamilton, 5-3, in the final round. Alvarez was one of eight teenagers paired with a Derby participant (she was with Morneau) in a State Farm contest that gave $50,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of the child whose big league partner won the Derby.

So when Morneau defeated Hamilton, Alvarez's Variety Boys & Girls Club from Astoria, Queens, received the money to go toward its teen center. Additionally, State Farm and Major League Baseball combined to contribute $17,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for every home run the Derby participants hit off the Gold Ball, used after the ninth out. Also, the other seven teens get $10,000 each for their clubs.

The 10 Gold Balls hit out of the park brought the total to $170,000. But after the Derby, Mark Gibson, State Farm's assistant vice president of advertising, said there would be an additional $80,000 "on behalf of [Hamilton's] performance."

"And while Justin's the winner here, obviously the real winners are the Boys & Girls Club," Gibson said.

Alvarez thanked Morneau for his performance and said the youngsters in the club "are going to have a good time now."

"You're welcome," Morneau responded. "I'm glad we can help you guys out. Maybe I made one Twins fan out of this night."

Alvarez, wearing star earrings during the pre-All-Star Game event, said she's a Yankees fan but likes the Twins a little more now.

State Farm also sponsored the first "Call Your Shot" promotion in which a fan, Bennett Hayes of Brimfield, Ill., called a shot for Hamilton and Morneau to hit before their final round. They didn't homer, so Hayes missed out on a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and a 2009 Major League Baseball ticket package.

The other seven pairings:
• The Texas Rangers' Hamilton and Ernestine Grant from the Children's Aid Society Boys & Girls Club.
• The Tampa Bays Rays' Evan Longoria and John Laboy from the Education Alliance Boys & Girls Club.
• The Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun and Kareem Guthrie from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark.
• The Houston Astros' Lance Berkman and Ismael Banquet from the South Queens Girls & Boys Clubs.
• The Florida Marlins' Dan Uggla and Samantha Lynn Santiago from the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Clubs.
• The Philadelphia Phillies' Chase Utley and John Albanese from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Westchester.
• The Cleveland Indians' Grady Sizemore and Wayne Reyes from the Madison Square Boys & Girls Clubs.

Willie Bans is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["all-star_game" ] }