ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – Former St. Bonaventure baseball player Derek Morgan took center stage at Monday night's Major League Baseball Home Run Derby at Cleveland's Progressive Field.
Morgan pitched to his cousin, New York Mets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso, and helped Alonso capture the Derby crown.
Morgan, who was with the Bonaventure baseball program for two years as an infielder and now lives in Copley, Ohio, served up 57 home run balls to Alonso during the derby.
"This is so special. I couldn't have done it without my million dollar thrower," Alonso said after winning. "He's the man. This is a family affair and it's incredible."
Alonso defeated Cleveland's Carlos Santana in the first round with 13 home runs, then used a late run to defeat Atlanta's Ronald Acuna Jr. by a 20-19 total. In the final round, he overcame Toronto rookie sensation Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to win, 23-22.
"Honestly, just to be here, that's all that matters to me," Morgan said in a news conference as he sat next to the champion. "Everybody is talking about him dreaming, and I'm still dreaming. I'm catching myself sitting here just flashing back to just the memories I had 20 minutes ago. It's just surreal. And all that matters is that he asked me. I'm just blessed and honored that he asked me."
The win earned Alonso a prize of $1 million, doubling his rookie salary.
"We got the jitters out in the first round," Morgan said. "I think we figured it out after the first timeout in that first round. We stayed positive and kept grinding."
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