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The Madison Record
Cole Spanier is packed and ready to compete in the nationals of the Jr. Home Run Derby as he enters Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Bob Jones freshman was among the top eight in the country to compete for the title. Photo Contributed

Cole Spanier Takes To Los Angeles For Jr. Home Run Derby

LOS ANGELES, Calif.- A possible once-in-a-lifetime experience engraved a place in the memory banks of Madison’s Cole Spanier. The rising Bob Jones freshman stepped up to the plate at famed Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and belted homeruns as a finalist in the Major League Baseball Jr. Home Run Derby.

“This was certainly an experience of a lifetime and I recommend to others who may want to try their best at a home run derby,” said Spanier, who made the trip to Los Angeles with his father, Jim.

A near perfect day, which featured a beautiful clear California sky, greeted the finalist of the national competition as each stepped onto the field at Dodger Stadium and hit as many homeruns over the 200-foot fence set from home plate with 25 swings within a three-minute time limit. The 14-year Spanier qualified for the national event by winning the Regional near Atlanta. In the finals of the Regional he belted 17 homers to earn his way to be among the eight finalist from across the country.

Just walking into Dodger Stadium is enough to make anyone a little nervous and almost awestruck. Spanier was chosen to be the first to step into the batter’s box and face a pitching machine throwing the baseball at 60-miles per hour. The competition just completed the 12-under age division and the 6-foot, 180-pound right handed hitter took to the plate.

“I wasn’t very comfortable at the beginning as I had to figure out the pitching machine,” added Spanier. “I tried to hit the ball out of the stadium, but chose some bad pitches to do so.”

Spanier hit eight dingers to place in sixth place. The competition went through a first round before taking the top two who advanced to the finals. Logan Huegel of Plainfield, Ill. crashed 15 balls over the fence to win the 14-under title while Marley Holguin of Montebello, Calif. finished runner-up with 14 homers.

While at the stadium Spanier and the other participants walked around the facility, which is home to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and visited the Major League Baseball dugouts. They were also able to attend and watch the 2022 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game played at Dodger Stadium. The game featured minor league players in a contest with the American League versus the National League. The AL roster featured Ky Bush of the Rocket City Trash Pandas. Throwing for the American League the lefthander (6-foot-6, 240) pitched one inning, gave up one hit, one base on balls and no runs while striking one in his 15 pitches on the mound. The AL defeated the NL 6-4 in the game. Also included in the day’s activities was a Celebrity Softball Game. They were also among the 56,000 who packed Dodger Stadium for the Major League Home Run Derby which was won by Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals.

Spanier and his father stayed at the Hotel Indigo in downtown Los Angeles and at night presented the Spaniers a splendid view of the city and the lights that shine within the City of Angels.

“The experience was great and hitting at Dodger Stadium just enhanced the experience even more,” added Spanier.

The summer travels of Spanier will soon continue as he qualified for the Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run competition. He won the local competition at Palmer Park and will now travel to Tampa, Fla. for the Team Championship of the event with the Nationals held during game four of the 2022 World Series.

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