Salamanders infielder Collin Woody ready to swing at CPL Home Run Derby

HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. – Holly Springs Salamanders third baseman and closing pitcher Collin Woody is ready to take his cuts at the 2015 Coastal Plain League (CPL) All-Star Game Home Run Derby at Sparrow Stadium in Florence, S.C. on Sunday.

The rising senior at UNC-Greensboro who hails fromTampa, Fla., currently sits second on the CPL’s home run list with eight, second only to Chad Sedio (Miami Ohio / Edenton) and Stephen Wallace (Mount Olive / Morehead City), who both are tied with 10 homers.

Woody also sits second in the league with 35 RBIs, just one behind leader Sedio.

Woody, Sedio and Wallace, along with GK Young (Coastal Carolina / Petersburg), make up the East Division squad that will battle with the West Division’s representatives – J.D. Crowe (Francis Marion / Lexington County), Hank Morrison (Mercyhurst / Martinsville), Ryan Mincher (Pennsylvania / Asheboro), Ben Holland (Lee / Florence) – in the preamble event to the league’s All-Star Game that will take place on Monday.

As the Salamanders won their third straight game on Saturday, an 8-1 thrashing of Martinsville, Woody kept his bat hot and finished 2-for-4 at the plate, while adding an RBI and scoring a run.

Woody currently has a batting average of .240 with a .481 slugging percentage, and has started 35 of 37 games he’s played in for Holly Springs.

Along with teammate and CPL batting leader and fellow All-Star Brian Miller, both are the iron men in playing the most games for the team.

The work Woody and his teammates have put in at the plate is paying off as the Salamanders (8-3, 20-19) sit in first place in the East Division, with the second half of the season in full swing.

“It’s awesome to be able to represent the Salamanders and Holly Springs at an event like that,” Woody said.

Though he’s participating in the first home run derby competition of his career, previous all-star game appearances in high school allow Woody to head to Florence with a focus on enjoying the opportunity to represent his team.

“It’s definitely a really fun experience,” Woody continued.

“I’m interested to see how the CPL puts it together. It should be really, really exciting.”

As exhilarating as the feeling will be, Woody will try to use the formula that’s worked for him so far in getting the ball over his patented spot over the left-center field fence at the North Main Athletic Complex and other CPL parks.

“I’m just tryin’ not to do too much at the plate,” he said.

“Sometimes I’ll get in a zone where I’m tryin’ to hit the long ball and I’ll get long on my swing and I’ll get jammed. Really, the home run comes when you’re not thinkin’ about it and you’re sayin’, ‘I’m just gonna put a good swing on this pitch and I’m gonna hit it hard’. A lot of it is pitch selection too, so if you get the right pitch and get lucky enough, you take advantage of it.”

Knowing what he needs and wants to do doesn’t mean he’s not a little nervous heading into the home run competition.

“I’m just hopin’ I don’t get skunked – I’m hopin’ I don’t throw up a goose egg,” Woody concluded with a smile.

“I think it will be important to get that first one out. Hopefully with the first couple, I can hit one and then it’ll be smooth sailin’.”

2015 CPL All-Star Home Run Derby Rules:

– Four (4) East All-Star participants & four (4) West All-Star participants
– Three (3) Rounds:
o First Round – 8 outs
o Second Round – 8 outs
o Championship Round – 10 outs
– Either a Home Run or it’s an Out
– May use aluminum bat for up to two (2) outs per round
–    HR with wood bat = 3 pts.
–    HR with aluminum bat = 1 pt.
– Points from Round 1 roll over to Round 2
– Championship Round – both hitters start over at zero (0)

Round-by-Round:

Round 1: Four (4) hitters from East and four (4) hitters from West
– Top two (2) hitters from East and top two (2) hitters from West advance
-Top hitters determined by total points

Round 2: Two (2) hitters from East and two (2) hitters from West
– Top hitter from East and top hitter from West advance
-Top hitters determined by total points

Championship Round: Top East hitter vs. Top West hitter
-Hitters start from zero with hitter who has the highest number of points from home runs hit being crowned the 2015 CPL All-Star Home Run Derby Champion

East All-Star Participants:
1) Chad Sedio (Miami Ohio / Edenton)
2) Stephen Wallace (Mount Olive / Morehead City)
3) Collin Woody (UNC Greensboro / Holly Springs)
4) GK Young (Coastal Carolina / Petersburg)

West All-Star Participants:
1) J.D. Crowe (Francis Marion / Lexington County)
2) Hank Morrison (Mercyhurst / Martinsville)
3) Ryan Mincher (Pennsylvania / Asheboro)
4) Ben Holland (Lee / Florence)