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06/17/2008 11:43 PM ET
Burgess blasts way to Derby crown
Sends several homers over 70-foot fence to defeat Montero
Tony Perez (left) and Andre Dawson have more than their share of All-Star experience. (Tony Farlow/


GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Michael Burgess of the Hagerstown Suns won Home Run Derby at the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday night, edging Charleston RiverDogs catcher Jesus Montero, 2-1, in the finals.

Burgess hit 16 homers over three rounds of the competition, while Montero totaled 11.

"It was really cool," Burgess said, adding he hadn't won a home run derby since high school. "I just tried to keep my head down and put a line drive on it."

After the first two rounds were held before the game, the finals took place between the second and third innings.

"It was pretty tough because that's the first time I ever had to do something like that, where I have to play and then think about the Home Run Derby at the same time," Burgess said.

Fans arriving late missed quite a show in the early rounds.

After hitting five homers in the opening round, Burgess awed the crowd in the second by launching nine out of NewBridge Bank Park with only six "outs." It wasn't just the quantity, however, but the quality. The left-handed hitter slugged several balls into the Greensboro skyline beyond the right-field fence, including a few that cleared the 70-foot scoreboard in right-center.

Hometown favorite Michael Stanton hit some big flies from the right side of the plate, rocketing a few of his nine homers over the berm in left field. He finished one dinger short of the finals, however.

Rome's Freddie Freeman, West Virginia's Jon Lucroy, Hickory's Miles Durham and Asheville's Brian Rike were the other Home Run Derby participants.

Class of 2008: The South Atlantic League kicked off All-Star festivities Tuesday afternoon by inducting five new members into its Hall of Fame.

Former SAL stars Vince Coleman, Buddy Bell and Matt Winters were honored at a luncheon at the Greensboro Coliseum along with umpire Johnnie McKenzie Shives and executive Bing Devine.

"There's a lot of history in this league and we were glad to be able to take not only more recent players -- Matt Winters -- but going back to Johnnie Shives," said South Atlantic League president Eric Krupa. "It was great to honor all those people, a great turnout at the Greensboro Coliseum, and, again, another fantastic event as part of the whole All-Star festivities."

Winters was the only inductee on hand, and he also threw out the ceremonial first pitch at NewBridge Bank Park. He played for the Greensboro Hornets from 1980-82, hitting 56 home runs with the help of the short right-field porch at old World War Memorial Stadium.

"Anytime you get recognized for your accomplishments, it's an honor," Winters said. "And the South Atlantic League played a big part for me."

Coleman swiped 145 bases in 113 games for the Macon Redbirds in 1983, a record across professional baseball that still stands.

Bell was an All-Star for the Sumter Indians of the Western Carolinas League before moving on to an 18-year career in the Majors. He also spent parts of nine seasons managing in the big leagues, most recently with the Kansas City Royals from 2005-07.

Shives was an umpire in the North State, Piedmont, Western Carolinas and Carolina leagues for more than 19 seasons in the 1930s and '40s. Devine, meanwhile, worked in the Columbus Cardinals organization in 1946-47 before becoming general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1957.

Tony and "The Hawk:" The biggest stars at NewBridge Bank Park weren't the ones painted in the outfield. They were the special guests in each dugout.

Former Major League All-Stars Andre Dawson and Tony Perez were on hand as honorary managers, with Dawson in the South dugout and Perez in the North.

Dawson and Perez, with 15 combined All-Star appearances, both work in the Florida Marlins' organization, the parent club of the host Greensboro Grasshoppers.

"I just enjoy coming down to work with the kids," Dawson said before the game. "To me, it's better than being up in the big leagues, where guys feel a little bit comfortable and have their own routine. These kids are a little bit more hungry and more fun to watch."

Tim Britton is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.