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Regina’s Griffin Keller wins home run derby at Men’s Senior AAA National Championship

Let the games begin in Red Deer
Regina’s Griffin Keller alongside his father Daryl Keller pose for a photo after winning the 2023 Canadian men’s home run derby at Great Chief Park on Wednesday. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

It took an extra round of competition in the 2023 Canadian men’s home run derby but Regina Trappers Griffin Keller got the job done.

In the finals, Keller took on Mark Phillips from the Saint John Alpines from New Brunswick for all the marbles.

However, after they both hit five home runs each it went to a swing-off where both competitors had one minute to hit as many as they could.

Phillips only managed to hit a single home run and Keller came out on top after knocking two over the fence at Great Chief Park.

Keller told The Advocate following his victory the only thing he was thinking about was having fun.

“This is a really cool place to be it’s not every day you get your dad throwing to you in a home run contest,” he said. “I just tried to have fun with it and things worked out.”

The home run derby kicked off the 2023 Men’s Senior AAA National Baseball Championships that officially start in Red Deer on Thursday morning. A total of 10 teams (two from Alberta) each representing their province traveled to Red Deer to compete for a national championship and a gold medal.

In the home run derby, each team had one hitter compete in the three-round competition and got three minutes each to hit as many as they could.

After the first round, the crop was trimmed down to four competitors including Manny Latigua representing Team Manitoba (seven home runs), Griffin Keller representing Saskatchewan (five home runs), Mark Phillips representing New Brunswick (four home runs), and Matt Deneau representing Ontario (three home runs).

Red Deer Riggers participant Zach Olson was unable to get out of the first round after only hitting two home runs.

In the second round, Keller smashed seven home runs to book his ticket to the finals and Phillips knocked out three.

Keller explained this is his first time at nationals in senior AAA baseball and is excited to be here.

“It’s been a ton of fun. All the guys out here are really good guys and people. It was good to meet a lot of new people too,” he said.

“Nobody was rooting against each other and it was awesome.”

Griffin’s father Daryl pitched for his son in the derby and explained how proud he is of him.

“I’m very proud and I’ve got another son playing too,” he said. “It was a proud moment. Father-son moments like this don’t happen very often so it was a great experience.”

Red Deer Riggers Zach Olson hit two home runs in the first round of the 2023 Canadian men’s home run derby at Great Chief Park on Wednesday in Red Deer. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)
Mark Phillips of the Saint John Alpines from New Brunswick finished runner up in the 2023 Canadian men’s home run derby at the Men’s National Championships on Wednesday at Great Chief Park. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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