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LAKELAND, Fla. -- With a brisk wind blowing in from right field, it seemed after the first round of the Florida State League All-Star Game Home Run Derby that it wouldn't take a whole lot of bombs to win the event.
So when St. Lucie Mets catcher Jesus Flores got hot in the semifinals, blasting eight, all Dunedin Blue Jays outfielder Ryan Patterson could do was hope that he had tapped himself out early.
Fortunately for Patterson, he had.
In the final round, with both slates wiped clean from preceding rounds, Flores -- who went first -- managed just one home run, paving the way for Patterson to win the title with two, launching a bomb to deep left-center for the victory.
"I was just hoping he didn't have anymore rounds in him like that," laughed Patterson, who is third in the league with 14 homers.
Lakeland Tigers manager Mike Rojas, who was more than familiar with pitching batting practice from the Joker Marchant Stadium mound, served as the pitcher for the event. And beforehand, he checked with each of the eight participants to see if they had any preferences as to how they wanted to be pitched.
"It's a good thing he did," Patterson said. "I asked him to pitch up and in a little bit because I knew I'd have to pull the ball pretty good because of the wind."
Patterson's slot in the finals, in fact, was due partly to his impressive first half.
In the first round, Patterson and Brevard County Manatees (Brewers) third baseman Ryan Braun qualified for two of the four semifinal spots with two home runs apiece, with Lakeland's Jeff Frazier, Dunedin's Ryan Klosterman and Flores all tying with one each.
The criteria for the tiebreaker went to the two players who had the most homers coming into the game -- Klosterman (10) and Flores (11).
Klosterman, Braun and Patterson each hit one homer in the semifinals, with Patterson getting the nod over Braun -- again reaching back to pre-break totals -- to join Flores in the finals.
Flores came into the night tied for fifth in the league in homers.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the event, other than Flores' unlikely output against the wind, was the absence of Daytona Cubs catcher Jake Fox in the finals. Fox is leading the league with 16 homers but did not hit one in the first round.
Also coming up short in the opening round were Cody Ehlers of the Tampa Yankees and Cubs infielder Matt Craig. Craig, a switch-hitter, started his round batting left-handed but switched to the right side after five "outs."
Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.