By Haley Smilow

Corey Hahn lost all direction after suffering a spinal cord injury during a baseball game his freshman year at ASU. But baseball always kept him motivated.

Although Hahn could no longer play the game he loved, he could be a part of it. He returned to ASU, earned a degree, which he considers his greatest accomplishment, and became an Arizona Diamondbacks employee.

Hahn is also a cofounder of Project 34, an organization that raises awareness about and money for spinal cord injuries, with his childhood best friend/Pittsburgh Pirates player Trevor Williams.

“We have been really good friends since high school,” Hahn says. “We both grew up in Southern California and played for the same travel ball team. We’ve known each other for a long time.

“As I was going through this injury, we just continued to be as close as ever and he was there through every step of the way for me. That’s what separates Trevor from so many. He has been at the forefront with me every step of the way. He is much more than a best friend.”

Williams and Hahn will host Dingers in the Desert on Saturday, January 18, at GCU. The homerun derby will feature Eric Sogard, Cole Tucker, Kevin Kramer and a few other surprise players.

Gates open at 11 a.m., with opening remarks at 11:30 a.m. The homerun derby starts at noon and runs until about 2 p.m.

If watching people hit dingers all day doesn’t sound like your dream day, there will be other activities as well.

“The focal point of the day is going to be the derby, but we are going to have a silent auction and autograph sessions with some of the pros,” Hahn says. “Another cool thing we are going to be doing is for fans 13 and younger; they can shag balls during the derby.”

Food will also be covered at the event by Someburros, which will offer everything from tacos to burritos and anything in between.

Hahn has one main goal for the event.

“I would love us to raise more this year than we did last year, but at the end of the day the most important thing is to be able to raise as much as we can and to try to raise as much awareness as we can for the spinal cord community as a whole,” he says.

Dingers in the Desert, 11 a.m. Saturday, January 18, GCU Ballpark, 5199 N. 35th Avenue, Phoenix, free admission, projectthirtyfour.com.