ASU alums Williams and Hahn host first Dingers in the Desert event
PHOENIX – For former Arizona State baseball players and roommates Trevor Williams and Cory Hahn, baseball is much more than just a game.
In 2011, Hahn suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury in just his third game as a Sun Devil while sliding headfirst into second base. The 26th-round pick by the San Diego Padres quickly saw his career end as he became permanently paralyzed from the chest down.
After experiencing life from this new perspective, Hahn and Williams, the latter of whom is a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, co-founded Project 34 to provide financial support for those suffering with spinal cord injuries.
“Part of our goal is to not only supply resources but also be able to spread awareness and continue to let the community grow and show how amazing these people are,” Hahn said.
The former roommates now use baseball as a platform to help achieve their goals and spread awareness.
On Saturday, Hahn and Williams hosted their first annual Dingers in the Desert event at Phoenix Municipal Stadium to help support their project.
The event consisted of three different home run derby divisions: a 10-12-year-old division, a special ASU baseball division between Carter Aldrete and Spencer Torkelson and a professional division featuring amateur and major league hitters.
“We have been working on this for a long time,” Hahn said. “When you are finally able to put it together and create an event like this … it’s amazing.”
ASU baseball’s Torkelson and Aldrete were asked by Williams to renew their home-run derby rivalry one more time for the event.
“Anytime an organization has events like this where players come back and give back to the community is awesome, and to be a part of it is even cooler,” Aldrete said.
Current major leaguers Matt Davidson and Scott Kingery participated in the final division as well as minor leaguers Bobby Dalbec, Nick Heath, Drew Stankiewicz, D.J. Peterson, Jack Zoellner and Nick Zammarelli.
“It was a fun event and I hope it is something the fans look forward to every offseason,” Williams said. “Hopefully this is something we can grow to be even greater than it was today.”
Hahn and Williams hope to get a representative from all 30 major league clubs to participate in the event to help grow and spread their project’s mission.
“If I can be an impact to just one person then I think I’ve done a good day’s work,” Hahn said.