The AFL's inaugural Bowman Hitting Challenge took place last night at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. One player from each major league club was chosen from the AFL rosters to compete in the event, which is like a quirky minor league version of the Home Run Derby.
Players were first challenged to hit four bunts at designated infield targets, each worth a certain amount of points. Immediately following the bunt challenge, each player had two minutes for "batting practice," during which they had to try to hit different targets scattered throughout the infield, outfield, and home run areas. The targets, which included inflatable boxing rings, oversized baseball cards, towers of ball buckets, and an enclosed trampoline, ranged from 100 to 600 points each. Home run balls ranged from 100 to 500 points, depending on where they landed. At the completion of the two-minute period, each player hit the "Bowman Bonus Ball" off a tee, worth double the points for any target that was hit. Fifty points were deducted each time the player fouled off or hit a fly ball that was caught by a mascot roaming the field.
The top three scorers from each division were awarded cash prizes. The results were as follows:
- Alex Dickerson (Pirates) - 1,300 points
- Corey Seager (Dodgers) - 1,200 points
- Tommy Medica (Padres) - 1,050 points
Fans in attendance for the Bowman Hitting Challenge also had chances to win prizes when specific targets were hit. Prizes included Bowman baseball cards, autographed bats, AFL merch, gift cards, and tickets to events at Salt River Fields.