ANACONDA – It took more than 2 ½ hours and 52 home runs but at about 1:30 on Sunday morning, the Goosetown Softball Tournament was finally able to crown its latest Home Run Derby champion.
No one hit the ball through the $10,000 bulls-eye that was parked just beyond the centerfield fence, adjacent to the 350-foot sign but that didn’t seem to matter to Nitro Gastino or Jason Crosland.
The two out-of-state sluggers battled their way into a pair of tiebreaking rounds before Gastino finally put one out over the scoreboard in left field at Washoe Park.
Unfortunately, the weather-related late start, chilly evening and the length of the event sent most of the overflow crowd home by the time Gastino hit his final monster shot.
Gastino’s blast was worth $500, a trophy and a new bat worth about $300.
Gastino, a resident of Seattle Washington, had to think for a few seconds while deciding what the key factor was in winning such a tournament.
“A good pitch,” he finally blurted out. “A good pitcher.”
Sixty-four contestants paid the $30 fee to enter the contest. Many of them were frustrated by the lack of good pitches. With only five pitches per batter, one bad pitch was costly.
Crosland, from Burley Idaho, and Gastino were the only batters to hit four of their five pitches for home runs. A couple more ended up with three dingers, and a few more hit two.
The mid-50s air temperature also played a part in the lack of home runs, as the ball travels better when it’s warmer.
Gastino and Crosland advanced to the tiebreaker round, where they were given three swings or five pitches. They each hit one home run.
The next round saw Crosland hit a ball off of the fence, while Gastino cleared the same fence for the win.
Crosland pocketed $300 for his second-place finish, according to Goosetown Tournament director Bill Hill.
The women’s home run derby, which was held on Friday night, was won by Twin Bridges’ Peyton Ferris, who plays on the women’s basketball team at Montana State University. Hill said that Ferris did not receive cash for her win, for fear that it might have affected her eligibility in the Bobcats’ program.