E.A. Sports Today

Take a big swing

Versatile Piedmont catcher Kirk battles one of the nation’s top prospects in Home Run Derby finals at Marlins Park

Piedmont senior Easton Kirk stands with Linda Ruth Tosetti, granddaughter of Babe Ruth, during a break at the Power Showcase Home Run Derby. (Photo courtesy of Shane Kirk)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

When Piedmont senior Easton Kirk accepted an invitation to come to Miami for the International Power Showcase Home Run Derby, he thought he’d get in a couple cuts and have a lot of fun.

Now he has a chance to win it.

Kirk hit 13 homers in Marlins Park off a pitching machine with a combination of wood and metal bats and now is in the division finals against a giant of a senior outfielder from Georgia.

On Friday, before catching in a showcase game, he will go head-to-head with Terriez Fuller, a former Auburn football pledge who rescinded his commitment to play junior college baseball, for the crown. They talk about his opponent in terms of being another Bo Jackson.

“It’s crazy,” Kirk said. “There are so many good hitters here. I was coming in and just wanting to hit like five home runs and I ended up hitting 13. I don’t know, I just got in a groove.

“It did surprise me. I hate to lose and I really want to be in the finals, but I didn’t really expect it.”

The Wallace State signee was among roughly 40 contestants in his division of Features players. Batters got 20 outs – five with wood bats, 15 with metal — to hit as many home runs as they could. He hit one homer with a wood bat.

Kirk hit four homers for the Bulldogs last spring. Fuller, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound left-handed hitter listed as the nation’s No. 44 prospect, hit five in Wednesday’s contest that went said to have gone 500 feet.

Kirk figures it’ll take a lot more than 13 homers to win his David-for-Goliath challenge.

“I think 20 maybe; it’s going to take a big number,” he said. “It’s going to be fun. He hits the ball a long way.”

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