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Baseball: UL’s Adams invited to College HR Derby – aires July 4th on ESPN

Reprinted on July 4, 2013 for July 4th airing. Kevin Foote, Daily Advertiser, June 26, 2013

Caleb Adams
Caleb Adams

It was a leisurely Sunday afternoon and UL outfielder Caleb Adams was hanging around the house back in Texarkana with his father after church.

Then he got a phone call that he certainly didn’t expect.

It was a representative from Intersport – the company putting on the 2013 College Baseball Home Run Derby – inviting the Ragin’ Cajuns slugger to participate in the annual event to be held July 3 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

“It definitely came out of the blue,” Adams said. “It was totally unexpected. I definitely wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity like this.”

Adams and seven other sluggers from around the nation will compete in the derby that is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. on July 3 as part of the Omaha World-Herald’s annual Independence Day Fireworks celebration.

The derby will then be aired at 7 p.m. on July 4 on ESPN.

Adams got selected after hitting .339 with nine doubles, 16 homers, 55 RBIs and a .651 slugging percentage in his first season of Division I baseball after one year at Texarkana JC.

“It’s definitely been a wild season,” said Adams, who said he’s expecting to learn about the entire field today. “We knew back in the fall that we were going to be good. I’ve always hit home runs, but 16 is definitely the most I’ve ever hit in a season.

“Coach (Matt) Deggs really worked on my swing. It was all about the approach.”

Adams and UL teammate Tyler Girouard will be flying out of Texarkana on July 2 to Omaha for the July 3 competition.

Assistant coach Deggs and Anthony Babineaux normally throw batting practice, but both will be on recruiting trips. So Adams selected Girouard to pitch to him in the derby.

“Tyler and I are good buds,” he said. “He’s a great guy to be around. Tyler’s always ready to do what’s needed, so he throws BP sometimes. Plus, he’ll do a good job of keeping me loose.”

Adams said he did compete in two such events in high school in Dallas tournaments.

“It’s definitely different than trying to hit a home run in a game,” he said. “I’m not going to change my swing or anything like that, but you never have to have a different approach. It’s not about how far you hit it. It’s about how many you hit over the fence.”

Still a little bitter about UL losing in the NCAA Regional finals, Adams said he hasn’t watched much of the CWS, but has heard how few homers TD Ameritrade Park has yielded.