TAMPA, Fla. - Tampa Bay is joining in on the celebration with their hometown homerun hero. Some of Pete Alonso's Plant High teammates got together to watch baseball's rookie sensation knock off Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the finals.
Ryan Ellis was a sophomore on Plant's team when Pete was a senior and he couldn't be more proud of his friend.
"Watching him win was amazing," said Ellis. "We are proud of him. Real proud of him...Plant Alumni..UF Alumni...It's really cool. The fact that he's donating the money and how young he is. It's really, really cool."
Competing in the home run derby has always been a draw for Alonso, but he has not always had this kind of success. His first swings in a homerun derby came in high school at the Saladino Tournament.
"He didn't hit a single home run," laughed Ellis. "Our coach didn't want him to be in it. He didn't want to mess with his swing. He just didn't believe in it. He wanted to be in it so bad. He's like fine you can do it and he didn't hit a single home run. Of course he gave him crap for it."
Ellis has always believed Alonso would make it big. He didn't know it would come so quick, but Ellis says there's never been a doubt in Pete's determination.
"Kids would kind of make fun of him for thinking he was going to be a Major Leaguer," said Ellis. "I have texts from him saying they're making fun of me for it, but I know it's going to happen."
Alonso has quickly become an amazing Met smashing records in just half a season, but Ellis believes this is just the start.
"He plays tonight too and if he hits a home run that would not surprise me at all," said Ellis.