DeRoche-Duffin Leads North to Home Run Challenge Championship


Rochester Honker infielder Joe DeRoche-Duffin claimed the individual championship with eight home runs

Written by: Doug Ingels, Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, PR

Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – The North Division squeaked out a 22-21 victory over the South Division in the 2015 Marshfield Clinic Northwoods League Home Run Challenge on Tuesday afternoon. Joe DeRoche-Duffin (UConn) was named the individual champions, leading all hitters with eight home runs.

The Home Run Challenge was comprised of 18 of the top home run hitters in the Northwoods League, with nine batters from each division. Each hitter received one half-inning consisting of six outs to hit as many home runs as possible. The North Division occupied the top half of each inning, while the South Division hit in the bottom half.

Deroche-Duffin started the challenge with a bang, smacking eight home runs in the top of the first. In the bottom of the second, Madison’s Anthony Gonsolin (St. Mary’s) hit six home runs in his half inning, cutting the North’s lead to 9-8. The North then went on a 6-0 run in the third and fourth inning, pushing their lead to 15-8.

The two divisions traded three home runs each in the fifth before the South started a comeback charge in the sixth as La Crosse Logger shortstop Mason McCoy (Iowa) out hit Eau Claire Express Daulton Varsho (UW-Milwaukee) 3-1. Varsho, a Marshfield, Wisconsin native, hit the longest home run of the challenge as he smashed his lone home run over the scoreboard in right center.

The South chipped away at the North’s lead again in the seventh as Green Bay infielder Ryan Donovan (Lynn) hit three big flies to cut the South’s deficit to two, 19-17. Each team hit one homer in the eighth, setting up a dramatic ninth inning.

Alexandria Blue Anchors outfielder Josh Merrigan (North Carolina) came through with a pair of home runs for the North in the top of the ninth, giving the visiting squad a little wiggle room with a 22-18 lead. Wisconsin Rapids infielder Mitch McGeein (Eastern Michigan) was the last hope for the South in the bottom of the ninth. McGeein hit an early home run, then clutched up with four outs, hitting back-to-back bombs to bring the South within one. The comeback, however, wasn’t meant to be as the Rafter infielder popped out for his final out, securing the North victory. DeRoche-Duffin took home the individual championship for the South.

Following the Home Run Challenge, the South got it’s revenge in the 2015 Marshfield Clinic All-Star Game, picking up a 3-1 win over the North. Eric Filia took home the “Star of Stars” award by going 1-for-3 with a pair of stolen bases and two runs scored.


           Deroche-Duffin      Sanchez      Panaccione     Adkinson     Athmann    Varsho   Nolan   Wilson   Merrigan    

North           8                           1                   4                  2                    3              1                 0              1             2             22

Inning          1                           2                   3                  4                    5                6               7              8             9            Final

South           2                           6                   0                  0                    3                3               3             1              3            21

                   Raley             Gonsolin        Scholl             Weiss       Ponzurick   McCoy   Donovan  Theroux  McGeein