Former Eagle Slugger Wins Home Run Derby Contest
WINTER HAVEN — A former Polk State Baseball player now has even more home-run cred to his name.
Michael Danner, who during his two years at Polk State led the team for home runs, on Tuesday won the Florida Collegiate Summer League Mad Dog Bats Home Run Derby at Sanford Memorial Stadium.
"I was surprised I won; it was fun," said Danner, who is playing in the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs, part of the Florida Collegiate Summer League, and was also selected for the League's South All-Star Team.
Danner hit six home runs in the first round of the competition, and five in the second round, beating 11 other competitors.
As his designated pitcher for the home run competition, Danner called on Polk State Head Baseball Coach Al Corbeil.
"He pitched well, he threw all fast balls right in my sweet spot," said Danner. "It was just like old times."
Corbeil said Danner is a well-rounded player, and that was even more apparent during Tuesday's contest.
"Danner is a complete ball player," Corbeil said. "He has been begging me since last fall to come out and pitch for him. I told him if he made it, I would pitch, but that he better win," said Corbeil jokingly.
"He looks confident as a player. He looks like he is learning his swing and making more adjustments as a hitter. I am so happy for him," Corbeil added.
Danner will continue his career in the fall at the University of Tampa, where he will play outfield. While his reputation as a home-run hitter continues to grow, he is not making that the focus of his game.
"I am not a power hitter, it just happens," he said. "From time to time I may try to hit some home runs during batting practice, but it's not something I'm looking to do."
In addition to winning the Home Run Derby, Danner on Tuesday helped lead his team to a 9-4 victory over the North All-Star Team. Danner finished the game with two hits in five at-bats, two stolen bases and two RBIs.