Home runs are what every hitter wants; they get the team runs, put great numbers in your stats, and is the ultimate 15 seconds of fame. Some home runs are borderline near the fence, and you can’t tell right away if they are going to make it out of the park. A hitter needs to be at least thinking about a double and hustle around first base in case it doesn’t go out.
Then there are the no-doubters. Hitting a round ball with a round ball squarely is one of the best feelings a baseball player can have. It feels like you didn’t even hit the ball and that you swung right through the pitch, but the end result is a trip jogging around the bases as you watch the ball fly far over the fence. You have the luxury of walking a few steps out of the box (and risk showing up the pitcher) as you admire the trajectory of the missile you just launched.
Either way, a home run is a home run. I had the fortune of hitting two in a game only once in my college career. My senior season started with a single away game before opening a weekend series at home. At the start of the year, every team has hopes of winning championships, setting milestones, and making it THE year. The first game of a Saturday double-header was a hitting showcase, surprising even myself.
Although I was the cleanup hitter, home runs were not my forte. I was more of a gap to gap guy and loved hitting line drives down the third base line. Sometimes the baseball gods are extra special and give you a little more power, a smoother swing, or more fastballs in the zone. No matter the reason, I was not complaining. After fouling out to first base my first at-bat, I started off with a single.
Next came my first home run of the year. It went to left center and carried over the wall as I was half way to 2nd base. I always assume my balls won’t leave the yard since they typically don’t, but this one did. It was only my 4th home run of my career and I was ecstatic.
After a double in my next at-bat, we were losing 17-8 in the last inning. Despite a home run by our catcher and a grand slam from our designated hitter, we simply couldn’t hold our opponent’s offense in check.
The 9th inning rolls around and it would basically take a miracle to come back from 9 runs down with only 3 outs to work with. That might be why I got another pitch in the zone and why I swung for the fences, but I did what I had never done before – hit two home runs in a game. It caught me by surprise because it was down the left field line. I was expecting it to hit off the wall and maybe give me a chance for a triple. Nevertheless, my final stat line was 4-5 with a double, two home runs, and 3 RBI. We lost the game 17-10.
I thought this was going to be the start of a great senior season, with home runs every series, lots of handshakes with the third base coach, and new shoes from being intentionally walked so much as a result. The real result was that I ended the season with a crooked number of home runs – 2. I didn’t hit another one the entire season! This wasn’t surprising to me overall, but for that year it was. I had either been teased by the baseball gods or just given a bittersweet day to remember. Either way, it was something I’ll always remember especially since it only happened once.
On a side note, we had to play game 2 of the double header after my multi home run game. I was 0-3 reaching only on a fielder’s choice. Funny how baseball works like that.