The first annual BNA Bank Cotton States League Sonic Drive-In Homerun Derby came down to two GT Jet teammates, one of which a native to Union County.
New Albany’s Gardner Richey and Kyle Thornton of Ole Miss squared off in the derby finals after posting four and three long balls each. Ethan Bright was the only other contestant to homer in the derby, as he was third with two homeruns.
In the finals, Richey and Thornton each belted three homeruns to end in a tie, taking the competition into a deciding third round, where Richey’s single shot gave him the title.
Honestly, it was just like another day in batting practice,” Richey said of the competition. “We do this everyday, so it’s something I’m comfortable with.”
Richey is known for being a batting practice king, but an interesting note is that he takes the title without having any homeruns in regular season action.
“I would like to get a few more in games,” Richey laughed. “I was red shirted this past year, so I haven’t seen a lot of live pitching, but that’s no excuse. I hope to perform at the level I should be this summer.”
Ten contestants participated in this year’s derby, including Union Countian M.J. McWhorter of Blue Springs.