Hometown star Bryce Harper wins Home Run Derby
Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper gave his hometown crowd a hero as he rallied to beat Kyle Schwarber for the Home Run Derby title Monday night.
The 25-year-old slugger hit 19 home runs in the final round at Nationals Park to beat the 18 hit by the Chicago Cubs outfielder.
Harper hit his winning home run in extra time, his reward for hitting two homers at least 440 feet during his four minutes of regulation time in the third round.
With his father pitching to him, Harper rallied from being down 18-9 with just 1:20 left in the round. He connected on nine of his last 10 swings in regulation time.
The performance comes amid a season that sees him hitting just .214 for a Nationals team that is sitting at 48-48 and in third place in the National League East going into the All-Star break. It also comes as he’s hoping for a big payday entering free agency for the first time in his young career.
Harper bat Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves and Max Muncy of the Los Angeles Dodgers on his way to the final. Schwarber beat Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros and Philadelphia’s Rhys Hoskins, the No. 8 seed who upset NL home run leader and top-seed Jesus Aguilar of the Milwaukee Brewers, to earn his spot in the final round.
Muncy defeated No. 6 seed Javier Baez of the Cubs 16-15 in the first round. Baez, however, hit the longest homer of the derby, connecting on a 479-footer before losing.