Baseball Wins Second Consecutive Conference Championship, the World Sees “The Catch”
Tigerville, SC (April 30, 2019) North Greenville baseball added another Conference Carolinas baseball tournament title, the second consecutive, to their resume on Sunday. The Crusaders, upended the Mount Olive Trojans 10-7 for their third overall title.
The second title for NGU baseball was the biggest headline of the weekend. Senior Outfielder Jeff Chandler from Scottsdale, AZ made what some are considering the “best catch ever,” capping a fourth inning which might be considered the biggest of his career. Prior to what is widely known as “The Catch,” Chandler powered a three-run homer over the left field fence, putting the Crusaders up by five runs while tilting the momentum into NGU’s favor.
What happened next seems like something that could only come from a Hollywood script, turning a routine foul-ball into an instant classic. From his right field position Chandler inched closer to the right field fence as the ball sailed further out of play. As he got closer to the fence it seemed as if this foul-ball would be just another strike, but it was anything but.
In an instant, Chandler leapt, over the fence in an attempt to make the grab. At first glance, it seemed as if the effort would be chalked up as hustle while everyone crossed their fingers, praying that Chandler, who clipped the fence with his legs landed on his upper back as his momentum flipped him over. That is until he stood up with the glove in the air, revealing that the ball landed in his glove for the first out of the frame.
Head coach Landon Powell sprinted out of the dugout with trainer Dawn Torkelson close behind to check on the right fielder who waived them off as he somehow remained uninjured, minus a few scrapes and a bump on the head, proving that in the game of baseball, you never really know what will be thrown your way.
The video was quickly uploaded to social media and gained traction even faster. By the end of Friday’s events, the video had been viewed 100’s of thousands of time and picked up by every major sports media platform around the world. That same night, the play was featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter and was named the #1 play in the world on the #SCTop10.
Proving the power of social media, Chandler’s name and his catch quickly became a viral sensation, garnering attention from the likes of CBS Sports and the Major League Baseball Network (MLB Network) who interviewed Chandler on Monday afternoon on their mid-day broadcast.
Throughout it all, Chandler remained humble, touting his teammates and their accomplishments on the field as the hosts on the MLB network coaxed him into admitting that he believes his catch was the best catch of the season on all levels of baseball.
Chandler said during his interview with the MLB Network that he watched the clip around 100 times that night and that friends and family that he has not heard from in a while contacted him to congratulate him.
“The catch kind of changed my life for this weekend. We’ll see going forward, because to have a chance to play at the next level; hopefully that helped me out a little bit,” said Chandler.
Chandler also stood out on the offensive end as well with three hits, including a home run, while driving in three runs. He was named the Conference Carolinas’ 2019 Tournament MVP.
Photo: Jeff Chandler, senior outfielder from Scottsdale, AZ, made what some are considering “the catch of the century.”
Story by NGU Sports Information Director Robbie Gawyrs (’09, M.B.A. ’16).