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Langley wins home run derby08/14/2007 8:40 PM ET
By Evan Mohl / MLB.com
WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. -- Size doesn't matter.
Just ask newly crowned New York-Penn League home run derby champion Torre Langley, who stands a generous 5-foot-9 and weighs 175 pounds.
Langley made sure the sellout crowd at Dutchess Stadium didn't overlook him Tuesday night as he put on an absolute show. The Jamestown Jammers catcher clobbered 13 home runs in the two-round contest.
"It's fun being the little guy out here," Langley said. "I'm the shortest guy out here, I'm sure. It's exciting."
Mike McCormick of the hometown Hudson Valley Renegades finished second. He grabbed the lead in the first round with 10, including some blasts over the scoreboard. However, in his final-round duel with Langley, McCormick failed to hit a homer, despite rallying cries from Renegades fans.
"I couldn't find my groove [in the final round]," he said. "The first round, I felt pretty good. Home runs are all about rhythm."
Among the other contestants, Mahoning Valley's Todd Martin hit eight, while Oneonta's Chris Carlson -- who leads the league with nine -- stroked four. Jamestown's Ryan Anetsberger had three and Jason Jacobs of the Brooklyn Cyclones totaled two.
Langley said being the home run derby champion ranks No. 2 among his professional baseball achievements, just behind getting drafted by the Florida Marlins in 2006.
TRIPLE CROWN CANDIDATE: Todd Martin entered the All-Star break -- about two-thirds of the way through the season -- tied for the league lead in batting, second in homers and first in RBIs. He has a real shot to become the first Triple Crown winner in the Minor Leagues in two years.
"I try as much as I can not to pay attention to that stuff," he said. "To be honest, I try to focus on what I'm doing day in and day out."
HOMECOMING: Glenn Gibson was all smiles before the game. The Vermont Lake Monsters pitcher grew up in Center Moriches, N.Y., a little over two hours from Dutchess Stadium. Both of his parents were in attendance, although not many friends could make the drive since the game was being played on a weekday.
"If it was a weekend, though, I'd have as many people as I possibly could out here," he said.
PAYING HOMAGE: There was a brief moment of silence before the game to honor Erik Walker, who died last year in a canoe accident. In addition, a video featuring some of Walker's highlights was played on the scoreboard video screen and several family members took the field during the pregame ceremonies. Last year, Walker was named MiLB.com Short-Season Relief Pitcher of the Year.
RETURN TO GLORY: Vermont's starting pitching has been outstanding this season and is one of the key reasons the Lake Monsters are in the midst of the playoff race. Three Vermont pitchers rank in the top 10 in the league in ERA.
Before the game, however, ERA leader and Lake Monsters ace Glenn Gibson offered his opinion as to who he thinks has the best stuff among the trio: "I think Adrian Alaniz has the best stuff. He throws four pitches for a strike every time, and you can't really beat that."
Vermont has not reached the playoffs since 1996.
HE SAID IT: "It's a blast, it's surreal. To know I'm in the company of so many great players, it's great." -- Hudson Valley's Emeel Salem, who has reached safely in 33 consecutive games, on being at the All-Star Game.
NEWS 'N' NOTES: Next year's All-Star game will be held at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, home of the Tri-City ValleyCats.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.