Villavicencio wins Quad County HR Derby prodigiously

By Bob Behre | July 1, 2022

Chris Villavicencio of Ferris receives Quad County HR Derby trophy from Bob Smorol.

Chris Villavicencio of Ferris put on quite a show on his way to the NJ Quad County All-Star Games Home Run Derby championship.

The 5-11, 200-pound junior outfielder hit a Derby-leading six home runs in the first round to advance to the final round with the opportunity to bat last.

Villavicencio, with his alarming bat speed and powerful wrists, hit five home runs on just eight final round swings to defeat fellow Hudson County slugger Adrian Rojas of St. Peter’s Prep, 5-4. Villavicencio recorded just three outs of the seven allotted each of the four finalists.

“This is something I do all the time when I practice with my dad at my high school field,” said Villavicencio, who claims he was totally relaxed when he entered the final at bat of the Derby needing five home runs to beat Rojas.

“I have a breathing technique I use that relaxes everything for me,” he said. “You have to take everything step-by-step and the result is you will do everything your best.” That breathing technique also served to take the breath away from his competitors and fans at North Brunswick’s Community Park.

The Derby preceded the annual NJ Quad County High School Baseball Underclassmen All-Star Games.

So it was step one, step two, then blow the roof off for Villavicencio, who used a short compact stroke to unleash a no-doubt-about laser on the first pitch he saw in the final. He homered again on his third swing, hit back-to-back bombs on his fifth and sixth swings and closed the door on Rojas with another meteor shot on his eight swing. Herman Munster had a similar performance years ago. Ask Leo Durocher.

Villavicencio hit two home runs this season for a terrific Ferris team that went 21-7 and reached the Hudson County championship game and the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 semifinals. His season stats reflect a remarkably well-rounded, All-State caliber ball player. Villavicencio batted .442 on the strength of 34 hits, including seven doubles, four triples and the two HRs. He scored 26 runs, drew 19 walks and stole 21 bases.

Rojas reached the finals on the strength of his three straight homers after missing on his first six swings in the first round, when batters were permitted 10 outs. The 6-5, 245 junior first baseman used a similar formula in the final when he hit four bombs in a row after first registering five outs.

The other finalists were Jaxon Appleman of Edison and Julius Rosado of South River. Appleman and Rosado each crushed five HRs in the first round, both exploding for four of their dingers after making five outs. Appleman hit two HRs in the final and Rosado ripped one.

The rest of the HR Derby participants were Griffin Seibel (3 HRs) of Glen Ridge, Brandon Doubek (2) of Columbia, George Provel (2) of Gov. Livingston, Evan Doyle of Scotch Plains-Fanwood (2), Kyle McSorley (1) of Old Bridge, Myles Seid (1) of Livingston, Danny Ciprian (0) of Linden and Justin Hoffmann (0) of Bayonne.

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