The Washington Nationals outfielder and the Los Angeles Angels pitcher/designated hitter each took three turns in the batter’s box to settle their slugging duel at Coors Field. The pair combined for 59 home-runs in the round before Soto eventually emerged victorious.
The 22-year-old, No. 8 seed went first on Monday and drilled 22 balls out of the ballpark in his first three-minute period. Ohtani followed with the same number, overcoming a slow start to storm back and force a swing-off.
Each batter got a minute during their next stint. Soto pieced together six more home-runs and Ohtani was able to match him fairly easily. With 15 seconds remaining, the Angels star had a chance to walk off with the win, but couldn’t hit another pitch out of the park.
Soto and Ohtani were then given three swings each to hit as many home-runs as possible. The Nationals outfielder capitalized and made his swings count, drilling all three over the outfield fence.
With the pressure on him, Ohtani slapped his first swing down the right field-line without much pop, bringing the two-round swing-off to an end. Soto advanced to take on New York Mets first-baseman Pete Alonso in the semifinals.
Although many were sad to see MLB’s home-run leader make an early exit from this year’s Home Run Derby, baseball fans were thrilled to watch the incredible duel between two of the game’s best power-hitters.
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) July 13, 2021
CRUSHED ‘EM! 💥
Juan Soto goes 3-for-3 in the double swing-off to defeat Shohei Ohtani!
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 13, 2021
Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto had a phenomenal battle. Soto is moving on.
Oh, and Ohtani will be the starting pitcher and designated hitter for the AL All-Star team tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/a2BXOGMqm6
— Brent Maguire (@bmags94) July 13, 2021
Next year at Dodger Stadium: how about a two-man home run derby?
Juan Soto vs Shohei Ohtani: The Rematch.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) July 13, 2021
Us trying to process the massive home runs Juan Soto just hit vs. Shohei Ohtani pic.twitter.com/Sgxs6KqU9R
— NBCSports Washington (@NBCSWashington) July 13, 2021
Juan Soto just torpedoed the MLB marketing department’s No. 1 HR derby storyline: building the myth of Shohei Ohtani. pic.twitter.com/nt724DfGCA
— Ben Maller (@benmaller) July 13, 2021
watching Juan Soto and Shohei Ohtani face off in the HR Derby https://t.co/b9YClHAa6g
— ric (@ricsanchez) July 13, 2021
Ohtani will get an opportunity to bounce back in no time. On Monday afternoon, the 27-year-old was named the American League starter on the mound for Tuesday’s All Star game, where he’ll also bat lead-off. Soto will also play in the Midsummer Classic after a strong first half of the the season with the Nationals.
Monday night’s Home Run Derby provided just a taste of what the future could look like with Ohtani and Soto in baseball. Both players have the potential to be the faces of their teams and the their leagues for plenty of years to come.
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