Gene Filyaw was the first contestant to step up to the plate. With all eyes on him, the Blue Thunder slugger took one pitch, then another, and another after that. Then, finally, he took a meaty hack, ripping a line drive down the left field line.

In a regular game, the hot shot might have gone for a triple, at least a double, but on Monday night at Gabe Nesbitt Field, it was nothing more than a garden-variety out.

That was the norm for the second annual Continental Baseball League Home Run Derby, where line drives and warning track power dominated a competition that saw 12 of the league's biggest sluggers combine to hit just eight home runs.

"The wind? It was terrible," said Filyaw, the Blue Thunder's only representative to finish the event without a big fly. "I'll hear about it the rest of the season. And if I come back next year, I'll probably hear about it then, too.

"I caught two [pitches] pretty well, and they didn't get out. At that point it was like, well, it's probably not going to happen. If there was no wind, yeah, I would have had at least two [home runs]."

Filyaw wasn't the only one to struggle at the Derby, where steady 15- to 20-mile per hour winds and even stronger gusts forced many probable home runs from right-handed hitters to fade off into foul territory. The lefties were getting even less love than the righties, as the two competing southpaws combined to go 0-for-20. In all seven players, including all three of Texarkana's entrants, failed to go deep in the opening round, which allotted each hitter 10 outs.

The field was trimmed from 12 hitters in the opening round down to five for the semifinal, where the power outage continued with only a pair of Corpus Christi Beach Dawgs in Nick Shay and Earl White going deep to qualify for the final round.

With only five outs allotted in the final, both Shay and White failed to hit a home run, sending them into a swing-off where each got five additional hacks. And just when it seemed like no more home runs were to be had and league officials would have to split the championship trophy in half, Shay sent a batting practice meatball over the left-centerfield fence to win the 2008 CBL Home Run Derby title.

Shay's derby winner may have been one of only eight blasts, but Monday was more about having a little bit of fun on an off day than it was about belting home runs. At least, that's what the players were saying after the competition was over.

In addition to Filyaw, Blue Thunder first baseman Joe Pagan and catcher Glenn Wilson got their fill of swings at the derby, each qualifying for the second round with one first-round shot.

Wilson nearly hit a pair of big flies, but the one that did travel over the fence was one of, if not the, deepest drive of the night. Pagan was the first McKinney player to go deep, bending a rocket shot over the fence about 20 yards from the leftfield foul pole. Unfortunately, neither he nor Wilson was able to go deep in Round 2.

"We're just trying to come out here and put on a good show for everybody was out here tonight," Pagan said.

Pagan and his three derby teammates, along with nine of their Blue Thunder teammates and 36 other CBL All-Stars, will try to put on another "show" today at The Gabe when the CBL All-Star Game kicks off with a 7 p.m. first pitch.

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