Yesterday, July 18, was an unforgettable day for baseball fans around the country. The highlight of the evening was the 2022 Home Run Derby. The event took place at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
The derby was played in a knockout tournament format with a starting bracket of eight contestants. They were all incredible hitters with a knack for hitting home runs.
Round 1: Ronald Acuna Jr. vs. Pete Alonso
One of the most interesting first-round matchups was between Pete Alonso and Ronald Acuna Jr.. Alonso, a first baseman for the New York Mets, is a two-time back-to-back Home Run Derby champion. He competed again this year to try for the "threepeat." His opponent, Acuna, has hit eight home runs this season, and has the longest average distance in the league.
Acuna went first and was able to hit a respectable 19 home runs in the three minutes plus bonus time. Alonso got off to a slow start. However, after warming-up a little, he was able to breeze through the round with plenty of time to spare. The final score was coincidently the same as when the two faced off in the 2019 Home Run Derby: Alonso 20 - Acuna 19.
Round 2: Albert Pujols vs. Juan Soto
After an improbable advance in a one-minute tiebreak round against Schwarber, Albert Pujols was set to face Soto. Soto had made easy work of his opponent, Jose Ramirez, in the first round, beating his score without even starting the bonus round.
When Pujols put up a mediorce 15 home runs in his at-bat, most thought Soto would have another easy victory. However, this was not the case. Soto had a terrible start. He did not record a single home run in nearly the first minute. He finished with 13 homers after three minutes. He needed three more to win it in the bonus minute. Soto advanced narrowly with less than 20 seconds left on the timer.
Final: Julio Rodriguez vs. Juan Soto
The final round featured Dominicans Julio Rodriguez and Juan Soto. The format of the final round was slightly different from the first two rounds, with each player only getting two minutes, initially, instead of three.
Rodriguez struggled to find the same rhythm he'd found in the first two rounds. He only finished with 18 homers. He also hit most balls too high, which meant they did not travel far. His longest shot of the round was only 446 feet, and he did not qualify for the extra 30-second bonus.
Soto hit some deep home runs, and one went as far as 476 feet, nearly beating his round one record of 482 feet. He was able to finish the two minutes with 15 points. With just under 15 seconds left in bonus time, he drilled number 19 to right field to win the 2022 Home Run Derby.
Home Run Derby full results
Julio Rodriguez (32 HR) vs. Corey Seager (24 HR)
Ronald Acuna Jr. (19 HR) vs. Pete Alonso (20 HR)
Jose Ramirez (17 HR) vs. Juan Soto (18 HR)
Albert Pujols (20 HR) vs. Kyle Schwarber (19 HR) (Tiebreaks)
Julio Rodriguez (31 HR) vs. Pete Alonso (24 HR)
Albert Pujols (15 HR) vs. Juan Soto (16 HR)
Julio Rodriguez (18 HR) vs. Juan Soto (19 HR)
Juan Soto won with 53 total home runs, the longest one going 482 feet.