by Mark Jent
We are so proud of this kid. After a three year break of not playing, Zach came out of retirement back in the fall to give baseball one more shot. He was very discouraged after a less than stellar season in 2017. Last Saturday he had a great game with a hit, played catcher for 3 innings and he got the game ball from Coach John Groce for an epic slide into home plate right under the pitcher’s tag who was chasing him down.
I serve as a quasi bench coach (keeping chaos of the batting order basically) so I had a perfect view of the play developing. As he rounded third base and was sprinting home, I saw what was coming so I practically ran behind him up the baseline yelling “SLIDE! SLIDE! SLIDE!” while simultaneously thinking “He’s never slid before in a game or practice.” But sure enough, he tucked one leg behind the other and slid feet first under the tag and got a big “SAFE!” from the umpire.
After the game Coach John, pictured here, gave him a shout out with the game ball and Zach had the biggest grin on his face as you see here. After we got in the car and drove off he says “Daddy this was the greatest day in my baseball life.” It very well could be little buddy, or there could be others that top it in the coming weeks, months or years ahead. Either way, neither one of us will forget that first slide into home any time soon.
Our Mudcats got drilled 19-3, but in that moment after the game the outcome didn’t matter. Although still winless through just four games this team full of seven and eight year old “free agents” has improved tremendously. As the season continues, hopefully we’ll be able to keep waving them around third and headed home.
Mark Jent is the chief trip planner and designated storyteller for Simply A Fan. He lives in Nashville with his wife Beth, and their three kids, Brooklyn, Harrison and Zach. He enjoys cheering on his Dodgers, reading baseball history, hiking at Radnor Lake and chasing waterfalls throughout Tennessee with his family. He launched Simply A Fan in July 2018 with the two-fold purpose of taking people on adventures to ballparks across the country and providing fans a platform to share their baseball stories. He is currently on a quest to meet as many of the living Brooklyn Dodgers as possible.
Zach and his game ball with Coach John
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