OMAHA, Neb. (July 3, 2016) – The ETSU Baseball program is officially labeled “Home Run University.”
For the second time in the seven-year history of the TD Ameritrade Home Run Derby, an ETSU Buccaneer won the prestigious event, as sophomore catcher Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) belted 46 home runs to claim the title over Houston’s Joe Davis on Sunday night at TD Ameritrade Park.
Owenby, who crushed a record-setting 23 home runs in the first round and 10 more in round two, advanced to take on Davis in the final round. After hitting 31 homers in the first two rounds, Davis was the first to go in the championship round and he tallied 12 home runs.
Knowing the number he had to hit, Owenby stepped to the plate looking to bring the trophy back to Johnson City.
The Buccaneer All-American slugger did just that as he hit three home runs in the final 30 seconds en route to capturing the walk-off win over Davis, 13 to 12.
When asked how he had enough fuel left in the tank to make the final push, Owenby said it was a late homer in the championship round that gave him the extra boost.
“I hit one way up in the air with 40 seconds to go – after that – I said ‘Come on Baby, Let’s Go, Let’s Go!’ I was ready after that and dug deep to win it,” said Owenby, who joined Paul Hoilman (2010 champion) as the second ETSU player to win the Home Run Derby. “My head was telling me to stop, but I knew I had a few more left in me. That last one, I kind of fisted it out of there. It was a little cheap one, but it did the job.”
Ironically, Hoilman wore the same jersey number, 44, and Owenby was glad to repeat what he was able do in 2010.
“The number 44 has been worn by some great players over the last few years at ETSU, and I am fortunate to have it rub off on me,” Owenby said. “Big Paul Hoilman wore this number and Clinton Freeman took over the jersey after him. Those are two tremendous Buccaneers to wear the Blue and Gold. It’s a pleasure for me to come out here tonight and continue that legacy. Tonight was awesome and a great experience.”
The home run title capped off a productive 2016 season for Owenby – who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 14th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft last month. Owenby has also received a plethora of postseason honors including Second Team Louisville Slugger All-American, ABCA/Rawlings First Team All-Region and First Team All-Southern Conference.
The Knoxville, Tenn. native – who led the Blue and Gold with 17 home runs, a .374 batting average and 88 hits in 2016 – averaged a home run in every 13.82 at-bats this season.
Owenby now returns to the Cape Cod League where he’s playing for the Chatham A’s.
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