LACONIA — This year's Kiwanis Home Run Derby finally, in its 4th year, reached a level of success that gives Kiwanis organizers hope that it will become one of the pre-eminent fund-raisers for local children.
This past Saturday saw 27 participants in 3 separate divisions vie for trophies and prizes. Over $2,500 was raised to support children's charities, and food and fun were had by all.
Prizes were donated by several local businesses to include T-Bones/Cactus Jack's, Fratello's. Funspot, Laconia Muskrats, Manchester Fisher Cats, and others.
This year's 13 and under winner, Jordan Ortiz won not only a $25 gift certificate to T-Bones/Cactus Jack's, but a trophy, and a date to participate in batting practice with the Muskrats, followed by the game on Friday, July 25th.
The 14-18 competition was fierce. More home runs were hit by the top two finalists than all other contestants combined. Belmont HS baseball coach Matt Leblanc sent two "ringers" to participate, and they were challenged strongly by Laconia American Legion players. It was only fitting that following the 8 entrants in this age group that a Belmont HS and Laconia player squared off for not only the trophy and gift certificate to T-Bones/Cactus Jack's, but a $100 cash prize as well, if either contestant's over-all total exceeded the MLB HR Derby champ set the prior Monday just before the All-Star game, 28 homers. Unbelievably, both contestants DID exceed the 28. Joey Levesque of Belmont HS slammed 30 HR's, but was surpassed in a tense final by Laconia's Riley Stone with 36 Home Runs. An amazing competition that kept the stands filled with fans for the full 3 hours of riveting competition.
The senior division too was a challenge of loyalties. Meredith Village Savings Bank eked out a victory over Bank of New Hampshire by the slimmest of margins. Winner Eric Petell won despite serious sciatica attacks during the competition.
The Laconia Kiwanis Club supports a number of children's charities including children's sports teams in both Laconia and Gilford, the Laconia High School Key Club, the Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice Pediatric program, the Lakes Region Boy's and Girl's Club, Camp Mayhew, and Got Lunch! Laconia.
Scott Laurent, immediate past-president of the Laconia Kiwanis club, was thrilled with this year's support the community has given the Home Run Derby. He noted he is most appreciative to all those who helped support the event, especially leading contributors: Meredith Village Savings Bank; Martin Lord & Osman, P.A; Bank of New Hampshire; Tanger Outlets, and Clay's Construction.
Information regarding the Laconia Kiwanis Club is available at www.laconiakiwanis.com.