SALT LAKE CITY -- The chance to compete with some of baseball's top rising stars was enough for Bonneville High slugger Sam Hall.
Hall was eliminated in the first round of the 2011 Triple-A All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday, but he was grateful for the experience.
"It's awesome to be out there with them and I'm really honored to be chosen to be out there with them," the 2011 Standard-Examiner All-Area MVP said. "They're really nice guys, down-to-earth guys."
The Salt Lake Bees will host the Triple-A All-Star game between top prospects from the Pacific Coast League and International League at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
Hall and Spanish Fork star Kayden Porter earned the right to participate in Monday's derby by winning an earlier derby against 16 other Utah high school sluggers after a Bees doubleheader in May.
"It was just good to be here," Hall said, noting that the wind was blowing in from right field. "It wasn't the lefties' day today. The other lefty only hit one ball out and it was to left field. It was a tough outing, but I won the last one. Today just wasn't my day."
Hall, who hit .481 with 10 doubles, nine home runs and 38 RBIs in 28 games for the Lakers in his senior season at Bonneville, has committed to play collegiately at Wichita State.
In the first round, with his father Mike pitching, Hall ripped one high arcing drive to right that nearly left the ballpark entirely, but went foul. Then, with just one out remaining, Hall hit a homer to right that a fan bobbled and dropped back over the fence.
Atlanta Braves prospect Stefan Gartrell was the home run king of the derby with seven blasts in the final round, but he had to fend off Porter, who slammed his way to the final by launching rocket after rocket off his metal bat, which the high schoolers were allowed to use.
One Ruthian blast cleared the 40-foot tall batter's eye 420 feet away in straightaway center field, while another bomb landed behind a BBQ stand in left-center field with a 474-foot sign on top.
Porter hit five out in the final round, but his power didn't come from the aluminum bat. It comes from a 6-foot-4, 250-pound frame that can also produce a 97 mile per hour fastball when he's on the mound. The senior-to-be has led the Spanish Fork Dons to three straight state 4-A championships and has committed to play at North Carolina -- if he can pass up the kind of major league signing bonus an early-round draft pick can command.
Porter, too, loved watching and learning from future big leaguers.
"It's really cool," he said. "They know where I'm at right now. I know where they're at and that's exactly where I want to be. I want to be working my way through the minors just like they are one day."
Gartrell, the Braves prospect, was thrilled to be given a signed jersey by former Atlanta star and National League MVP Dale Murphy, a Utah resident who was the honorary first hitter.
"I was a little starstruck," Gartrell said. "The fact that I got his jersey and he autographed it, it's pretty good for someone who knows the history of baseball."
Former Ogden Raptors slugger Trayvon Robinson, representing the Albuquerque Isotopes, hit two home runs in the derby and was eliminated in the first round.
Robinson ranks fourth in the Pacific Coast League with 20 homers and is hitting .300 with 55 RBIs.
Hometown star Jeff Baisley, representing the host Salt Lake Bees, hit four homers in the first round to advance to the next level before being eliminated by Porter and Gartrell.
Robinson and Baisley represented the Pacific Coast League along with Iowa Cubs infielder Bryan LaHair, who earned a laugh by taking Porter a wooden bat after his nine monstrous home runs in the second round. LaHair was eliminated with one homer in the first round.
Gartrell's Gwinnett Braves teammate Mauro Gomez hit five homers in the first round to lead early but couldn't advance to the final. The two Atlanta prospects represented the International League along with Dayan Viciedo, a lefty who was held to one homer in the first round.