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IL home run king Hessman headlines Triple-A Home Run Derby

Posted July 8

— Mike Hessman, Jesus Aguilar, and Dan Johnson of the International League and Allan Dykstra, Mike Jacobs, and Francisco Pena of the Pacific Coast League have been named the six participants for the 2014 Triple-A All-Star Home Run Derby. The Home Run Derby will take place on Monday, July 14 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park at 6:30pm.

The IL’s newly crowned all-time Home Run King, Toledo's Mike Hessman enters his fourth Triple-A Home Run Derby looking for his first win in the event. Hessman crushed his 259th career home run in the IL on June 30 to break the record held for over seven decades by Ollie Carnegie. Buffalo's Dan Johnson won the 2010 Triple-A Home Run Derby as a member of the Durham Bulls. This year he leads the IL with 17 long balls. 24-year-old Jesus Aguilar has 12 home runs so far in a season in which he has made both his Triple-A and Major League debuts.

Las Vegas first baseman Allan Dykstra was MVP of the Double-A Eastern League last season. The 2013 Mets Co-Minor League Player of the Year has 12 home runs so far in his first season in Triple-A. Reno's Mike Jacobs has hit 100 homers at the Major League level, including 32 for the Marlins in 2008. He'll try to follow in the footsteps of former Reno slugger Matt Davidson, the 2013 Triple-A Home Run Derby champion. Francisco Pena of the Omaha Storm Chasers, son of Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, has already hit a career-high 15 home runs this season.

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Fans will come to see Triple-A's top sluggers, but the star of the Derby may very well be the ballpark's primary target - the DBAP's Snorting Bull. Each home run hit off of the sign made famous in the classic baseball film Bull Durham will give those in attendance a chance to win steaks and much more, culminating with one lucky fan winning $15,000 if the Snorting Bull is hit a combined fifteen times throughout the competition. In the final round, 76-year-old local Home Run Derby legend Clay Council, who threw an unforgettable round of batting practice to Josh Hamilton in the 2008 MLB Home Run Derby, will pitch to this year's Triple-A finalists. The ultimate winner of this year’s Derby will be awarded a custom Triple-A Home Run Derby Championship Belt, a one-of-a-kind prize featuring the logos of the event and both leagues.

In addition to the packed lineup already announced for the event, the Bulls will partner with Zepp Labs on customized bat sensor technology, making the 2014 Triple-A Home Run Derby the world's first professional baseball event to adopt 3D swing analysis. Each bat used in the Derby will be mounted with a Zepp 3D sensor and home run swings will be recorded and replayed in 3D on the Blue Monster videoboard along with insightful power metrics like bat speed at impact.

Tickets for the 2014 Cree Triple-A All-Star Game on July 16, the Triple-A Home Run Derby on July 14, and all regular season Durham Bulls home games are available at durhambulls.com, by phone at 919.956.BULL, or at the DBAP box office.

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