News Detail


Jul, 2022

Kearney Little Leaguer Hagan Gates One Step Away from Hitting Dingers in Williamsport!


Hagan Gates, the winner of Kearney Little League’s inaugural Home Run Derby, held on June 15th, has been chosen to represent Nebraska in the 2022 T-Mobile Little League Home Run Derby.  Hagan is being flown to Seattle where he’ll compete in the Western Regional phase of the Derby, on Saturday, July 24th.   He’ll be swinging for the fences at T-Mobile Park, the home of the Seattle Mariners, immediately following a game between the Mariners and the Houston Astros.  If he finishes in the top 4, he advances to Williamsport for the Home Run Derby championship on Sunday, August 21st.  GOOD LUCK HAGAN!


Little League and Major League baseball have long maintained an important and mutually beneficial partnership.  From near-identical rulebooks to a continuing focus on player safety, and a common interest in promoting the game in both the United States and internationally, the two organizations share an important and highly valued relationship. 

In 2017 the relationship made a very visible step in displaying this partnership at the inaugural MLB Little League Classic.  The classic is a now-annual game played during the Little League World Series, and involves an official regular season game played at Williamsport, Pennsylvania’s Bowman Field.  This year, the classic takes place on Sunday, August 21st and pits the Boston Red Sox against the Baltimore Orioles.

A couple of year later the T-Mobile LITTLE LEAGUE HOME RUN DERBY was added to the mix of the exciting twelve days of the Little League World Series.  As Little League president and CEO Steve Keener has said:  “Since it launched in 2019, the T-Mobile Little League Home Run Derby has been an incredible opportunity for children all across the United States to step out onto the field and swing just like their heroes.  Thanks to this great opportunity, children now get to experience the Little League program in a unique and different way.”

In 2022, in conjunction with Kearney Little League’s Minors and Majors All Star Games and in the shadow of Kearney’s own Bowman Field, the league offered its players the chance to participate in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby for the first time.  Board member Joe Rodriquez and his wife, Jen, helped organize and facilitate the event.  Over 50 Kearney Little Leaguers from age 9 to 12 gave it a go at the very exciting inaugural Kearney Little League Home Run Derby.  The winner of our local event was 11-year old Hagan Gates. 

Now for the big, unexpected part of the story… Hagan has been selected to participate in the Western Region Finals of the Home Run Derby, which takes place on Saturday, July 23rd at home of the Seattle Mariners,  T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Washington, just after the Astros-Mariners game.   Hagan and a parent are being flown to Seattle for the event, where Hagan will be competing against ten sluggers from Arizona, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming for a chance at 4 spots in the big Home Run Derby in Williamsport! 

All of Kearney Little League – including the 500+ players and 80+ volunteer board members, managers and coaches – wish Hagan GOOD LUCK in SEATTLE!!!

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