PBA's Own Neil Hardon Claims SCBL Homerun Derby Title for Carolina Stingers

Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID

Neil Hardon (Pictured) Steps Back as He Blasts a Homerun in the SCBL Homerun Derby. Neil Hardon (Pictured) Steps Back as He Blasts a Homerun in the SCBL Homerun Derby.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.- Like many college baseball players, Palm Beach Atlantic University right-fielder Neil Hardon has decided to test his skills during the summer months by participating in a wooden-bat summer league program. Unlike many young sluggers however, Hardon had the opportunity to show off his skills by not only participating in his league’s mid-season All-Star Homerun Derby, but by also taking home the title.

Originally from Scottsdale, Arizona and having just finished his first campaign with the Sailfish in 2009 after a solid two-year career at Chandler Community College, Hardon is playing for the Carolina Stingers in the Souther Collegiate Baseball League (SCBL) which features nine teams from the Carolinas and Eastern Tennessee.

After a slow start to the summer season, Hardon has recently caught fire and now leads the Stingers with a .324 batting average including three doubles, one triple, and one homerun in 74 at-bats and 25 games played.

Known for his power to all fields, Hardon was chosen by team manager Cliff Allred to be one of two representatives of the Stingers to participate in the mid-season All-Star festivities that included the ever-popular homerun derby.

The derby was held at Russell C. King Field and featured three rounds with six hitters representing the North All-Stars and eight hitters from the South All-Stars. From there, the top three hitters advanced to the next round. The final round advanced just one hitter from the North and South to meet for the championship.

Hardon began the competition with two homeruns in the first-round while each other hitter tallied only one long-ball. He stepped it up another notch in round two as he lifted three balls out of the yard to stamp his ticket in the championship final. Spartanburg Blue Eagles player Zack McCarthy who plays his college ball at Erskine College was Hardon’s final competitor and it took just one homerun to win the title as both players started to feel the fatigue of the event.

Other schools represented in the competition were Duke University, Jacksonville State University, UNC Chapel Hill, University of South Alabama, the University of Montevallo, and Brevard College among others.

With the summer season winding down it won’t be long until Hardon and his Stingers teammates put away the wood bats back for the aluminum ones they use for the college game.

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