Baltimore Orioles shortstop JJ Hardy cannot catch a break when his team hosts the Los Angeles Angels. No matter who is playing center field for LA, Hardy can’t seem to put enough power behind the ball to get it over the fence. When you face outfielders with the defensive ability of Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout, that can happen.
During the first inning of his team’s 3-2 win over the Angels on Tuesday, Hardy smoked a ball to center field that looked like it had enough to leave the yard. Instead, Bourjos timed his jump perfectly and reached completely over the fence to pull the ball back in.
The play was amazing, but the situation was even more mind-boggling. Almost exactly a year ago, on June 28, Trout was playing center field in Baltimore when he took a home run away from Hardy. To make the coincidence even more incredible, that play also took place in the bottom of the first inning.
Moral of the story: hit the ball to right field. Josh Hamilton is a decent fielder, but Hardy clearly doesn’t have a chance against Bourjos or Trout.
Minnesota Twins minor leaguer Byron Buxton made one of the sickest catches you will see this season.
Buxton, the center fielder for the low Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels, made a diving catch on the warning track to rob Kane County’s David Boke of an extra-base hit during the top of the second inning of his team’s 6-2 win on Monday. Buxton also reportedly made another great catch in the first inning.
In addition to his amazing defense, Buxton, the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft, went 3-for-4 with a double, triple, and 3 RBIs. He is now batting .350/.444/.578 through 58 games with the Kernels, which leads the Midwest League in all three categories.
Buxton is battling Miguel Sano for the billing of top prospect in the Twins’ organization. Between the two of them, I’m thinking the rebuilding process in Minnesota won’t be so bad.
Durham Bulls shortstop Tim Beckham scored one of the most amazing runs you will see on Friday night when he juked Scranton catcher Jeff Farnham and avoided being tagged — twice.
The throw to home plate from the outfield was right on target and it appeared Farnham would be able to get the tag down in time. Beckham slipped it by executing a backdoor slide, only his hand came nowhere close to touching the plate. He then sprung up, danced around Beckham and dove at the plate. Farnham probably didn’t even have enough time to process what had happened, and who can blame him?
California high school baseball player Sean Nicholson scored an incredible run during a CIF playoff game earlier this week when he hurdled the catcher before tagging home plate on his landing.
Nicholson’s Franklin (Elk Grove, Calif.) High School had the bases loaded against top seed Davis on Monday and got a single to right. Nicholson was on second and tried scoring on the hit. The throw home beat him, so Nicholson improvised and went Willie Mays Hayes. “I told you I wasn’t going to slide!”
College and high school athletes make just as many spectacular plays as the pros. There just aren’t as many cameras rolling when they do. Fortunately, that was not the case during Sunday’s college softball game between Boston College and Georgia Tech.
BC senior outfielder Maria Pandolfo made an amazing catch to rob a home run during the Eagles’ 12-3 series-sweeping win, and someone standing in center field caught it on camera. You could practically hear the air leaving her lungs as she extended over the wall and somehow pulled the ball back in.
We are used to seeing MLB players rob home runs and make diving catches, but it’s a bonus when we get to see college softball players going all-out and lighting up the highlight reel. Bravo, Maria.
Mike Trout has only been in the majors for less than two full seasons, but he has already made more amazing catches than most players will make throughout their entire careers. On Tuesday night, he was at it again as he saved the game for the Los Angeles Angels in the 9th inning against the Texas Rangers.
With the score tied 4-4 and a runner on third in the top of the 9th, Adrian Beltre ripped a line-drive down the left field line that appeared certain to get down for extra bases. Instead, Trout made an outstanding catch and preserved the tie. The Angels went on to win 5-4 in the 11th inning, and Beltre joked after the game that LA had an unfair advantage.
Trout, who is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, was playing left field. Peter Bourjos — also a tremendous outfielder — started the game in center. Josh Hamilton was in right. If Beltre thinks he was robbed, he should ask some of his fellow players how they felt after Trout did this to them. Or this. Or this.
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Ben Revere had a very memorable night on Monday. For starters, he made one of the most spectacular catches we will see all season in the second inning of a loss to the Cincinnati Reds. As you can see from the video above, Revere went full extension on a line drive to center field to rob extra bases and double off a runner at first base. It was an incredible play, as the 24-year-old’s body was completely horizontal to the ground.
In addition to the catch, Revere also made a heartwarming gesture by paying tribute to the Boston Marathon bombing with a message on his glove. As I’m sure you have heard, tragic explosions left at least three people dead and more than 100 injured near the finish line of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday. Revere placed a pace of tape across the side of his glove with the words “pray for Boston” written across it.
Alex Gordon nearly had the catch of the year after climbing the wall in an attempt to rob Dayan Viciedo of a home run Wednesday.
Viciedo was up with a runner on first, two outs, and his Chicago White Sox up 2-1 in the fourth when he belted a tailing fastball to left. Gordon was already playing deep and decided to climb the wall. He hopped on the top of the padding and reached a few feet over the fence to nearly rob the homer. He was so close to making the catch that even White Sox TV announcer Hawk Harrelson was fooled.
Unfortunately for Kansas City, the ball went off the edge of Gordon’s glove to give Viciedo the dinger. The White Sox won the game 5-2 over the Royals.
Check out how close Gordon was to making the catch:
The Los Angeles Clippers lost an overtime thriller to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, but they were a mere shove away from winning the game in miraculous fashion. After OJ Mayo tied the score with 0.6 seconds remaining, Blake Griffin nearly pulled off the highlight of the season. However, he was called for an offensive foul and the shot didn’t count.
As you can see, Griffin caught a full-court pass and somehow flipped it off the glass and in with 0.4 seconds remaining on the game clock. The official who had been watching him fight for position with Dirk Nowitzki ruled that he pushed off, resulting in the basket not counting. The Mavericks went on to win 109-102 in overtime.
Where was this referee when the Packers needed him during one of the most infamous plays in NFL history? As a certain group of replacement officials could tell you, it takes guts to call something like that. In all fairness, it sounded like the official blew his whistle before the shot went in, so you can’t argue that he was reacting to the result. Still, it’s unfortunate that the call resulted in such an amazing play being washed away.
When Hudsonville High School (Mich.) found itself trailing by two points with only 1.5 seconds left on Monday night, it looked as if their hopes for advancing to the Regional Title game had all but disappeared. They had just about enough time left on the clock for a catch-and-shoot, but considering they were inbounding the ball from their own baseline the task seemed impossible.
Unless, of course, the Eagles could replicate one of the most famous sports plays in history. As you can see from the video above, Hudsonville was able to do exactly that and force overtime (score in the video is wrong) against the Forest Hills Northern Huskies. They pulled off Duke’s legendary Christian Laettner play to perfection. Brent Hibbits launched the ball 75 feet to Cody Stuive, who turned around and nailed the jumper.
“I just freaked out,” Stuive told FOX 17 in Michigan. “I just ran to the bench and was giving people hugs. Then I realized that now we have to win in overtime.”
It wasn’t all luck, either. Hudsonville head coach Eric Elliot called a timeout just before the play to make sure his players were on the same page as him.
“At that point you’re thinking with one-and-a-half seconds it doesn’t sound like a lot of time,” said Elliott. “In basketball-talk, you catch and you got one dribble. So it was just how do we get it into our guy’s hands within the three-point line so we can get a clean shot up.”
If we’ve learned anything from shots like this, this and the one that Hudsonville pulled off, it’s that some of the best buzzer-beaters come at the high school level. Perhaps the most amazing part about the feat was that the Eagles were able to refocus and win the game in overtime. Hudsonville will take on Muskedon for the Regional Title on Wednesday night.