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Break out the big sticks
Home run derby time
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Think you’re a slugger? Want to relive your old glory days? If so, then come out to Rebel Field in Springfield at 7 p.m. Thursday for Effingham County High School’s home run derby.

The entry fee is $20 at the gate, with the winner receiving half of the pot and the other half going to support ECHS’ baseball team. The gates open at 6:30 p.m. Admission to watch is free.

The home run derby is an annual tradition at ECHS, dating back to when Jim Simmons coached the program. Brett Griffin, who has coached the Rebels for the past two seasons, said it’s a way for old players to catch up on things and meet some of the current players.

“It’s exciting to get the kids together, especially before several of them head off to college,” he said. “It’s a nice and relaxed atmosphere.”

Griffin and some of the assistant coaches will serve up fastballs to the contestants.

The tournament consists of three rounds. In the first round, batters have 10 outs. An out is anytime a batter swings and does not hit a home run. In the second round, batters have eight outs. In the final round, the top two sluggers square off in an eight-out contest.

Griffin said some of his high school players will play as well as former Rebels Josh Wilson, Norman Chapman and Sam Dotson.