SAL home run derby set for Yorktown

The first round of competition in the South Atlantic League’s home run derby will take place on the deck of the USS Yorktown.

Charleston RiverDogs outfielder Tyler Austin has been meaning to visit Patriots Point and check out the USS Yorktown.

Austin, who is among the South Atlantic League leaders in home runs this season, could get more than the average tour of the World War II aircraft carrier next month.

The Charleston RiverDogs and the South Atlantic League have put a new twist on the annual home run derby.

The opening round of next month’s home run derby, which is part of the 53rd Annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game, will take place not at Riley Park, but on the flight deck of the USS Yorktown in Charleston Harbor.

Austin, who is leading the SAL in home runs with 11, is expected to be one of 10 competitors in the event.

“I haven’t had a lot of time off, but going to the Yorktown has been on my list of things to do,” Austin said. “I heard about hitting off the Yorktown (Tuesday morning) and I thought it was a great idea. It would be an amazing experience and a tremendous honor to take part in something like that if I’m selected.”

The home run derby will take place June 18 at 11 a.m. with the championship round being staged the following day beginning at 5:15 p.m. at Riley Park, where the All-Star Game will be played at 7 p.m.

The 10 home run derby competitors — five from the Northern Division and five from the Southern Division — will take their 10 swings on the flight deck. A total of four players will make the final round.

The RiverDogs have hired kayakers and personnel on jet skis to retrieve the balls hit into Charleston Harbor. The U.S. Coast Guard will assess and note the longest homers to determine the finalists and will radio the results to officials stationed on the Yorktown.

The participants in the home run derby will be announced at a later date.