ST. JOSEPH — Three home runs was not enough for Jonothan Ramon, falling in the first round of the home run derby during the MINK League All-Star festivities Thursday at Phil Welch Stadium.
A pair of early outs, including a grounder, put Ramon in an early hole before he crushed a pair of blasts over the wall in left-center, one coming close to flying into the parking lot of a nearby rec center.
He nearly added to the total moments later with a ball that was long but not quite out. Sitting on eight outs, he hit another to left-center for his third home run, but could not get a fourth.
“Being the first person up, I was a little nervous,” Ramon said. “Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun seeing the rest of the guys hitting the ball out of the park. All in all, it was a fun experience.”
His first round opponent, Chase Hamilton of the Clarinda A’s, had three within the first six outs to tie it. He nearly ended it with a blast to left which smacked off the wall before hitting his fourth home run on the next pitch he saw.
Hamilton, a lefty aiming at a 307-foot porch in right, kept rolling with seven home runs in the second round to reach the final with a 7-1 win over Chillicothe’s Will Price, but went cold in the final, losing 1-0 to Andrew Kendrick of the Ozark Generals.
For the home run derby, players left the wood bats on the shelf and brought composites, which college baseball used until 2010. Ramon said it has been a while since he last swung a composite before Thursday.
“In BP around 3 p.m. I took a couple rounds with it so I knew how it felt,” Ramon said. “It felt weird but it was fun.”
It is the first year of the MINK League All-Star game and nine Sedalia Bombers were selected to participate.
“It’s an awesome deal,” said Bombers firstbaseman Jordan Dey. “I’m glad the MINK League is finally doing this. It’s a blessing to be here with the best players in the league.”
Players also got a chance to take the field and show Major League scouts what they can do during a morning workout.
“My mindset through it was to continue to have fun and act like it’s another day at the ballpark,” Ramon said. “Yeah, there were people watching and the talent we have here, it was fun to be alongside them. We ran 60s, outfielders threw from the outfield, infielders threw from short. We hit BP and it was all fun.”
During the All-Star game, the South jumped ahead with four runs in the fourth inning. The North got a run back in the eighth but could not get closer as the South won 4-1.
Sam Perez got the start for the North, working one inning. He got a fly ball to right and a strikeout for the first two outs of the inning before allowing a two-out walk. A grounder up the middle ended the inning.
Justin Murphy came on to pitch the third inning, getting a trio of groundouts for a one-two-three inning.
Dylan Hastings came on to pitch the seventh. He struck out the first two men he faced but walked the third and fourth before leaving the game.
After drawing a walk in the first inning, Ramon ripped a double down the line to left in the third.
Justin Holt started in center and led off for the North, grounding back to the pitcher in the first and again in the third.
Dey was the DH in the game and led off the second inning with a strikeout. He then drew a walk in the fourth.
Trey Harris flew out and grounded out.
Jarod Perry came in as a substitute and flew out his first time up before blooping a single to right in the seventh. He also stole second.
Warsaw native Brad Jelinek was in the lineup for the South and popped up with two on and two out in the sixth as a pinch hitter.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles