HAMPTON — The Coastal Plain League kicked off its 2013 All-Star festivities Sunday night with the inaugural All-Star Hitting Challenge at War Memorial Stadium.

The hitting challenge was a spin-off of the typical home run derby associated with Major League Baseball's all-star weekend. Featuring a trampoline and a dunk tank in the outfield, the challenge provided a more fan-friendly way to display the all-star talent, said CPL commissioner Justin Sellers.

"The Pilots staff got the idea for the hitting challenge from a minor-league baseball team and wanted to incorporate it into our all-star weekend," Sellers said. "We are always trying to improve our all-star festivities and find ways to improve, and I think this is a great way to do that."

Throughout the competition, a large net blocked the left side of the infield, making a VIP section where fans could enjoy food and drinks while watching the players blast baseballs over the outfield fence.

Each of the obstacles in the outfield represented different point totals for the batters to hit during the challenge. Hitting the dunk tank in right field awarded a player 4,000 points, while a home run was worth 7,500.

Hundreds of fans were on hand to watch the festivities, including Glover Barker, who drove from Williamsburg with his twin sons, Dean and Ross, to enjoy the VIP section.

Barker said that he and his sons were regulars at Pilots games in years past, and even though they had not been able to attend many games this season, made sure to attend all-star weekend.

"It's a really cool atmosphere at Pilots games, so I knew the all-star weekend would be no different," Barker said.

While Barker watched the challenge from the picnic tables in the VIP section, his sons tossed a souvenir ball back-and-forth and chased after fly balls in the shallow outfield.

Adam Kirsch of the Edenton Steamers hit 22 home runs on his way to becoming the first winner of the hitting challenge, beating out strong efforts from 11 other competitors.

The CPL All-Star game is Monday at War Memorial, with the first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. The Pilots will be represented by catcher Scott Burkett, third baseman Jordan Negrini, and pitchers Ryan Cook and Josh Heddinger on the East Division squad.

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