Aug. 1, 2011
By Jon Cooper
Daniel Palka hopes to someday get an opportunity to play in the Major Leagues.
On Friday night, he got his first taste of a Major League ballpark, as he took his swings in Boston’s Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, as part of the Cape Cod Baseball League’s All-Star Game Home Run Derby.
Palka, who plays for the Wareham Gatemen, was one of six contestants in the contest, which included Georgia Southern’s Victor Roache of the Cotuit Kettleers, Clemson’s Richie Shaffer of the Chatham Anglers, Stanford’s Austin Wilson of the Harwich Mariners, Stony Brook’s Tanner Nivins of the Brewster Whitecaps and Jacksonville’s Adam Walker of the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.
Each player was given eight outs.
Nivins, who has five homers for the summer, had an off-night and did not homer. Roache, who is tied for second in the league with six round- trippers, the most of anyone in the competition, then took the lead with two in his round, one clearing the 36-foot-high left field wall, better known as the Green Monster.
Shaffer, who had 13 homers for Clemson during the 2011 season and has five for the summer, then set the standard, conquering the monster six times.
Walker, who has hit three homers, matched his summer total with three homers, followed by Wilson, who hit one in his round, three times being thwarted by the wall in left.
That set the stage for Palka, the final contestant.
The Lyman, South Carolina native, who hit a team-high 12 homers for the Yellow Jackets, good for fourth in the conference, put on a good show, belting three over the wall with his eight outs, earning a tie for second with Walker.
The only lefty in the contest, he was handicapped by “The triangle” in right-center field, which is 420 feet away. Undeterred, Palka blasted one ball over the home bullpen in right-center field, some 380 feet away. His second homer went deep into the visitor’s bullpen also more than 380 feet away in right field, while his final homer traveled well into the bleachers in right. He also hit two off the wall in right, which, although impressive, were recorded as outs.