Bahamian professional baseball player Lucius Fox had a year to figure out how to beat friend and rival Todd Isaacs at the Don’t Blink Home Run Derby. With help from a talented team of home run hitters, he figured it out, as Team Fox prevailed over Team Isaacs at Montagu on Saturday.
Once again, the event, now in it’s third year, was held at the Montagu Foreshore, and attracted hundreds of locals and visitors.
Fox plays in the Tampa Bay Rays organization and Isaacs swings in the Colorado Rockies system.
This year, the event was dubbed the “Charles Johnson Foundation Don’t Blink Home Run Derby”, as the foundation of the former major leaguer came on board.
Team Fox had 106 total home runs and Team Isaacs was unable to match that number, falling short with 103 home runs.
“It feels amazing,” Fox said. “I had a whole year to think about this – it wasn’t a good feeling. I told Todd, ‘Yeah you won last year but I will never lose twice.’ It feels good to back up my words and bring the victory home with my team today.”
Apart from Fox, Team Fox was represented by Nick Gordon (Minnesota Twins), Isan Diaz (Miami Marlins), Lewis Brinson (Marlins), Josh Palacios (Toronto Blue Jays), Bahamian Keithron Moss (Texas Rangers), Braxton Davidson (Atlanta Braves), Bahamian D’Shawn Knowles (Los Angeles Angels), Bahamian D’Vaughn Knowles (New York Yankees), Buddy Reed (Oakland Athletics), Bahamian Warren Saunders (New York Mets), Bahamian Ian Lewis (Marlins), Ronnie Dawson (Houston Astros), Bahamian Kristian Robinson (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Bahamian Chavez Young (Blue Jays).
As for Isaacs, he said he was proud of his team’s effort on Saturday.
“Nothing really went wrong,” Isaacs said. “Team Lucius and Team Flamingo just had a great day today. It was super close. We lost by two or three home runs so I felt that my guys did a great job and we just fell short. The great part about this is two charities will win and we will be able to help the community.”
Playing on Team Isaacs were Jeremiah Jackson (Angels), Christian Koss (Rockies), Bahamian Trent Deveaux (Angels), Monte Harrison (Marlins), Daniel “Jet” Johnson (Cleveland Indians), Bahamian Zion Bannister (Rangers), Bahamian “Big” James Rolle (Baltimore Orioles), Bahamian Anfernee Seymour (Marlins), Everette Cooper (Astros), Bahamian Dax Stubbs (Orioles), Will Benson (Indians), Shed Long (Seattle Mariners), Bahamian Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm (Marlins) and Bahamian D’Vonn Mackey (Athletics).
Team Fox supported the Sister Sister Support Group and the Cancer Society of The Bahamas. Team Isaacs supported Hurricane Dorian relief efforts through the New Providence Community Church (NPCC).
Up first at the plate was Lewis from Team Fox. The 16-year-old rookie from the Marlins managed to get his team off to a good start with seven home runs. Saunders came behind him for Team Fox and finished with a dozen home runs after hitting six straight to start his round.
Lewis said: “No nerves today. I was waiting a long time for this. Every year I watched, I just waited for my time. Now it is my time to shine and I just wanted to put on a show.”
Fox was happy with Lewis and Saunders’ performance to help give his team a good start.
“Ian Lewis, my first hitter, I told him he was hitting first like a week ago and he was up for the challenge. He [said] he was ready and I saw him again today and he said he will put on a show. I believed in him. Warren told me after last year, he didn’t do so well, so he had a lot to prove this year and he did just that. He was spectacular,” Fox said.
Team Isaacs had a rough start as Stubbs and Mackey had four and one home runs respectively.
Coming down to the end of the team competition, Chisholm got his team back into the game with 10 home runs. Team Fox led 97-93 with the captains, Fox and Isaacs remaining to bat.
Fox was up first. He helped his team get to 106 when he hit nine big home runs.
The pressure was on Isaacs to come through for his team, trying to defend their title. Unfortunately for Team Isaacs, he only managed to hit 10 home runs and his team finished with 103 home runs – three short of tying Team Fox.
A very confident Fox said he will beam Isaacs again next year.
“That’s easy. The first victory is the hardest. I’ll beat him again next year,” Fox assured.
Marlins’ outfielder Brinson, an American, prevailed over Fox for the individual home run title. Two-time defending champion Bo Bichette, the starting shortstop and lead-off hitter for the Toronto Blue Jays, made a guest appearance on Saturday but did not take part in the derby.
The competition drew a large crowd who came out to see both local and international players hitting home runs into the water.