Cotuit first baseman Paul Hoilman (East Tennessee State) now owns a piece of hardware that is unique in college baseball.
Hoilman out-slugged seven competitors and won the inaugural TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby held Wednesday at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb., home of the College World Series. The event was taped by CBS and shown Sunday afternoon on the CBS Sports Spectacular.
He was awarded the trophy after belting 12 homers in the final round to easily outdistance fellow finalists Matt Skole (Falmouth and Georgia Tech) and Jordan Ribera (Yarmouth-Dennis and Fresno State), who could manage just one long ball between them. Skole was the leader with six homers in the first round; Hoilman was close behind with five.
The field for the College Home Run Derby was selected from a pool of eligible players that ranked among the nation’s home run leaders during the 2010 college baseball season. Five of the seven competitors are currently playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League. In addition to Hoilman, Skole and Ribera, there were two Chatham players ---- Ricky Oropesa (USC) and Dan Paolini (Siena).
Hoilman, who was pitched to by East Tennessee manager Tony Skole, Matt’s uncle, hit seven home runs in his first 11 swings in the finals before recording five straight outs. He them whacked the next seven balls out of the park to leave Ribera and Skole in the dust. Ribera could manage just one dinger in the finals, Skole none.
Entering Sunday’s game, Hoilman had hit two home runs as a Kettleer. He ranked fifth in the nation with a school-record 25 homers last season for East Tennessee. Ribera led the nation with 27 homers for Fresno State. He had just one as an Angler prior to Sunday’s game.
The televised competition in Omaha featured Hall-of-Famer Mike Schmidt and 2010 Hall of Fame inductee Andre Dawson as honorary hitting coaches. Former American League MVP Frank Thomas (Orleans, 1988) served as color commentator for the telecast.