Don Torok wins the Derby

Don Torok is the new Michiana Senior Softball home run king.

Don, who plays with Unity Garden in the seniors and Putt-Putt in the juniors, won a sudden-death showdown with Bill Snyder of PowerHouse to take the title Wednesday.

Ten players competed, their $10 entry fees helping raise a little extra money for the league. For the first time, the competition was at Veterans Memorial Park, near IUSB, which has home run fences at about 225 feet.

The annual contest is less about raw power than it is about finding an effective swing groove. With souped-up softballs and bats, it doesn’t take a slugger’s oomph to put the ball over the fence.

All 10 entrants survived the first round, which required at least one home run in 10 swings or fewer. The second round had a higher standard. The goal was to hit as many home runs as possible in eight swings. The top three would advance to the finals.

The top performers in round two were Don Torok and Dan Murphey, last year’s champion, with six apiece. Bill Snyder and Bob Knight tied for third with four.

The final challenge was to hit as many home runs as possible before three outs were recorded. Any swing that didn’t produce a home run was counted as an out. Bill and Don both had two, which forced the head-to-head showdown.

Bill was first and sent a huge, towering fly far past the left-field foul pole. But it landed foul. Don followed with a high fly that cleared the left-center field fence.

It was a good evening of fun and fellowship for the players, as well as friends and family members. Special thanks are due to Don for bringing a pitching screen and to Jimmy Hill for serving as the pitcher for more than half the batters.

Bill Snyder, left, congratulates Home Run Derby winner Don Torok.

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