The Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship begins tomorrow, but before the teams hit the field the Troy Trojans host the Sun Belt Family Night tonight.
After the Sun Belt Conference awards are handed out, the real fun for the fans begins. There will be a home run derby that pits the best slugger from each of the eight teams in attendance against one another.
Each of the eight schools in the tournament will select one player for the home run derby, but Troy head coach Bobby Pierce said after the “big boys” are done there will be a youth home run derby.
“There are some great home run hitters in the league,” Pierce said. “It will be a special thing to watch them participate in that home run derby format. And what we have added to that home run derby is a eight-person youth league home run derby.”
Troy senior Michael Precise will represent the host Trojans in the derby. Florida Atlantic senior Jeremy Griffiths will represent the Owls. FIU junior Tim Jobe will represent the Golden Panthers. Senior Scott Hawkins will represent the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.
Junior Matt Laird will step to the plate for the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. Sophomore Bryce Brentz, who leads the Sun Belt and is tied for the NCAA lead with 27 home runs, will represent the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. Junior Brandon Brown will step up for the South Alabama Jaguars. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers send senior Chad Cregar to the plate.
Pierce said eight youth leagues from across the state were selected out of a hat to participate in the youth league derby.
“They have held home run derbies of their own in their local parks and their champion will come and participate in the home run derby as well,” he said. “We will have a temporary fence set up at about 250 and they will participate along with the Sun Belt players. It is going to be a great thing and a great night. And we will finish it off with a fireworks show.”
Austin Ingram will represent Troy in the youth competition. Other participants include, Walt Jones from Montgomery AUM, Jonathan Waite from East Montgomery, Trey Truitt from Dothan Southern, Auborn Shepard from Dothan American, Raequan Kelley from Eufaula, Chris Simmon from Enterprise and Wyatt Whiddon from Headland.
Family Night begins at 6:30 p.m. tonight.