By Ben Fischer
University of Maryland
July 3, 2018
COTUIT – For most players, when their team doesn’t make the College World Series, their chance at a shining moment in Omaha is gone. But Ole Miss and Cotuit Kettleers slugger Thomas Dillard still managed to have an Omaha highlight.
Dillard was one of five players in the college home run derby and he finished in third place with 33 total home runs in two rounds. Dillard finished behind only Logan Davidson (Clemson) and champion Nic Ready (Air Force).
“It was the best experience I’ve ever had,” Dillard said “They were great guys and hitting with them out there was so fun and I’m very thankful for it”
Dillard earned his invitation during his sophomore campaign in Oxford. Dillard hit 13 home runs to lead the Rebels, hitting some tape-measure shots that electrified Rebel fans and went semi-viral on Youtube.
Dillard has not yet displayed his full power potential in the Cape League, hitting just one home run, a blast over the scoreboard in right field in Hyannis. Despite the lack of homers, Dillard has showed off his strength with hard hit line drives, majestic foul balls and his majestic batting practice drives.
Dillard showed all three during Tuesday’s matchup with the Wareham Gatemen. He took his usual impressive batting practice, had a bullet RBI double in the eighth inning and hit two balls with home run distance that got foul.
While many say that participating in a home run derby can mess with a hitter’s swing, Dillard had no such concerns, saying that he did not miss a beat returning to Cotuit and to hitting with wood bats.
“I felt in my rhythm,” Dillard said. “It kind of sounds bad but every time I take BP I’m trying to hit a homer on every swing anyway, that’s just the kind of hitter I am.”