Pine Hills Guzman completes banner day with Home Run Derby title

Kevin Whalen takes a swing during the Home Run Derby Sunday. (Owen O'Rourke)

LYNN– Pine Hill’s Juneill Guzman began Sunday with an outstanding game at plate in the Lynn City Series final, helping his team, the Reds, take home the City Series crown.

Guzman totaled 5 RBI in the win and was one home run shy of hitting for the cycle for the day.

However, Guzman more than proved his home run hitting abilities in the Lynn Little League Home Run Derby which immediately followed the City Series final at Kiley Park.

Guzman totaled 17 home runs on his way to the derby crown, winning in dramatic fashion on the last pitch he was thrown.

Guzman said keeping a calm approach was the key to winning derby.

“I just had to stay calm after the City Series and try not to have any pressure in the second round,” Guzman said. “I just focused on staying calm.”

A total of 13 batters competed in the derby, each given 90 seconds, a 30 second resting period,  60 more seconds and then three final pitches to hit as many home runs as possible. Guzman totaled 12 home runs in the first round to propel himself into the second and final round. Alex MacMillan of Wyoma also had an impressive showing to get him to the next round with seven home runs.

Kevin Whalen (Wyoma, 6 home runs), Craig Burton (Lynn Shore, 5), Carlos De La Rosa (East Lynn, 4) and Mornel Castro (East Lynn, 4) also hit enough home runs to advance to the final round.

In the final round each player was given a 60 second period to hit as many home runs as possible. MacMillan and Burton both jumped out to a hot start, totalling four home runs to lead the second round before Guzman’s turn at the plate.

Guzman hit four home runs, but had mistaken a foul ball earlier in his minute as a home run. After the fourth home run he celebrated early, thinking he had won, wasting about 10 seconds as it looked like there might be a four way tie for first place.

However, Guzman was given 10 more seconds afterwards, enough time for one more pitch, which he laced to left center to seal his derby victory.

“I was thinking, just stay calm forget about the celebration and just focus on hitting one more,” Guzman said.

The day capped off a busy week at Kiley Park, home of Lynn Shore Little League, which hosted the City Series led by President John Smith and his staff.

Smith said he kept busy through the week but it was all worth it in the end.

“It was a busy week but the kids love it,” Smith said. “It’s not about the home runs its about seeing the smile and enjoyment on the kids.  

“Making the kids happy that is what this is for,” Smith added.

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