Softball home run slugger Johnny Bailey shows them who’s king
Fred Jeter | 8/20/2020, 6 p.m.
Softball slugger extraordinaire Johnny Bailey came to the Rich- mond area with a national reputation, and he didn’t disappoint.
Traveling from his home in La Jolla, Calif., Bailey won the Mike Macenko Home Run Challenge, beating local favorite Paul Sadler in the finals at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville on Aug. 7.
Swinging his own signature Johnny Bailey model bat — the Johnny Bailey Miken Ultra Maxload — the burly, right-hander launched 13 homers in 15 swings.
The 5-foot-11, 235-pound powerhouse cleared the fence on 8-for- 10 swings in the first round and a perfect 5-for-5 in the finals.
The Pole Green Park fence is 305 feet to the left field corner and 315 to center. Many of Bailey’s blasts touched down far beyond the fence, nearly 400 feet from the plate.
The event was scheduled for Aug. 6 at RF&P Park in Glen Allen but was postponed due to wet grounds until Aug. 7 at Pole Green Park.
The home run challenge was part of the International Senior Softball Association, or ISSA, World Championships held Aug. 5 through 9 at various Richmond area complexes. About 100 teams from several states participated in age groups ranging from 40 to 75 and up.
Bailey is the catcher for Smash It Sports/Team USA, based out of Baden, Pa. Smash advanced to the Major Plus finals before losing 27-26 to Florida-based FBI/Worth/Miken.
Outhitting Sadler was no easy assignment. The Benedictine alumnus has won previous home run events in Tampa and Myrtle Beach.