Dowagiac’s Reeves to compete in the MLB Jr. Home Run Derby in Seattle

Published 5:55 pm Thursday, June 29, 2023

DOWAGIAC — River Reeves, a 12-year-old, from Dowagiac, will be competing in Major League Baseball’s Jr. Home Run Derby in Seattle, on July 7.

Reeves earned the all-expenses paid trip to the All-Star Game by winning Detroit Tigers Jr. Home Run Derby Regional at Balduck Park in Detroit. He will represent the Midwest in the 12U Division of the home run derby where he will compete against 10 other kids from around the country.

Reeves said that it still has not fully set in that he will be traveling West to compete in Seattle.

“I was shocked, because I didn’t think I was going to win it,” he said. “I never really imagined it.”

Reeves will be accompanied by father Brian Reeves as his plus-one. Major League Baseball pays for both River and one other person to travel to the competition.

His mother Erin Vaickus-Reeves said she “tagging along for the ride.”

Reeves received a t-shirt, a hat and five tickets to the Detroit Tigers game, but could not attend as he had come back home to play for the Dowagiac 12U All-Star team, which recently placed second at the Berrien Springs All-Star Tournament. Reeves also played for the St. Joseph 12U South Coast Blues travel baseball team this summer, which is coached by Ryan Strain.

Strain was instrumental in getting Reeves into the competition after finding out from the director that more players were needed.

There are usually two rounds in the competition, but due to a tie after the second round, a tiebreaking was needed to decide the winner.

Reeves hit a total of 11 home runs, including four in the second round and two in the tiebreaker to win the competition.

“Each round you got 25 swings,” Reeves said. “We into extra rounds. In the second round some kid tied with me. In the extra round, I hit two to win it.”

Reeves said his best round was the second because he felt more comfortable.

Reeves will be taking batting practice several times before leaving for Seattle on Thursday.

The Jr. Home Run Derby will be livestreamed on

“I am really excited, because I never imagined I would ever go through anything like this,” Reeves said.