C.J. Beatty had a modest goal for the Frontier League Home Derby on Tuesday at Consol Energy Field: Don't get shut out. Not again.
The Washington Wild Things second baseman was successful in that regard, avenging the ghosts of a home run derby past with four first-round home runs, although that's where his night would end.
Steve McQuail of the Schaumburg Boomers hit five home runs in the final round to win the derby, beating first-round leader Chase Burch of Traverse City, who could only put up three.
"It's really hard not to be [nervous], to stand in the box and realize everyone's looking at you and you're supposed to hit BP homers," said McQuail, a former standout at Canisius College.
"It's a little intimidating, but after the first few you just have to breathe a little bit and you'll be able to crank some."
McQuail took home a bat at $500 for winning the event. This was the second home run derby he has won, also taking the crown at the Valley League (Va.) derby in 2009.
Beatty's first home run derby was in 2008 with the Costal Plains League.
"I was the favorite to win it and I hit zero," Beatty said. "So just to hit four this time was great."
Getting a hometown treatment similar to the one David Wright got at the Major League event Monday, Beatty was allowed to be the last batter to hit.
"It was exhilarating just to be chosen, then when they told me I was the last one to go, my heart just dropped," Beatty said.
"Like, 'Oh Lord, I got to hit at least more than one.' One was the magic number for me to save face and put something on for the fans."
Six home runs ended up being the magic number to advance from the first round. Beatty didn't reach that, but he can take solace in the fact that he did better than Frontier League home run leader Andrew Davis of Lake Erie (12), who hit just one.
Only McQuail could surpass Burch's first-round total of 12 in the second round, so Burch didn't even need to bat in round two, where the number of outs were cut to eight.
McQuail had a quick turnaround to the final, but crushed five homers over the 375-foot sign in left-center field while only being given five outs to work with. Burch couldn't match, hitting three.
"I thought after watching [Burch's] first round, I'm going to have to put a big number up there because he's feeling it," McQuail said.
"But everybody, when you get into the later rounds, gets tired and you don't realize it. Your arms get heavy, start breathing heavy and it's hard."
McQuail's strategy, which he picked up from watching Yoenis Cespedes win the Major League crown, was to take a pitch after each swing. He credited his pitcher, Mike Valadez (the catcher on his team), with getting him into a rhythm.
"He knew I would swing, take, swing, take, and on the ones when I was swinging he put it right there, every time."
The Frontier League All-Star game is at 7:05 p.m. today.
• What: Frontier League All-Star Game, Consol Energy Park, Washington.
• When: 7:05 p.m.
• Tickets: Limited number remained as of early this week. For information, visit washingtonwildthings.com, or call 724-250-9555 or 866-456-9453.
Nick Veronica: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @NickVeronica.