Every baseball player’s first home run is memorable.
Some may hit it in Little League, others may hit it years later.
Many never hit one at all.
Few, though, hit their first home run against a state-ranked team to give their team a lead late in the game, all the while pitching a complete game.
Nevertheless, that’s exactly what Hickman pitcher Chris Pfau did Thursday in the Kewpies’ 4-3 victory against the eighth-ranked Rockhurst Hawklets at Hickman Field in the opening game of the Capital City Tournament.
“It’s amazing,” Pfau said of his sixth-inning, two-run home run which gave the Kewpies a 3-2 lead. “When you have a team like this that fights so hard for one another, it just feels great to be able to come through for them.”
Pfau said he has never really come close to hitting one out in a game before, which only added to the astonishment of his father, Gary Pfau, who jumped up from his seat in the bleachers and yelled “I can’t believe it! I just can’t believe it! That’s his first one ever!” after seeing the ball travel over the right-field wall.
Pfau’s teammates were equally amazed.
“I’ve never seen him hit the ball like that,” said Hickman left fielder Taylor Steuber, who played with Pfau for several years before they became teammates at Hickman (4-3). “He couldn’t of asked for a better time to hit his first one.”
Steuber was also involved in the game’s dramatics, as he scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh after leading the inning off with a single.
“Scoring there to end the game was just awesome,” Steuber said, who also drove in the Kewpie’s first run of the game in the third inning. “It just shows that we’re a team that’s not going to quit, no matter who we are playing.”
When Hickman trailed late in the game, Kewpies coach Dave Wilson stressed the importance of not being intimidated by the Hawklets (4-2), no matter what their state ranking might be.
“Winning this game like this was exactly the shot in the arm we needed,” Wilson said. “I told them to quit playing scared and just reminded them that they put their pants on the same way we do.”
It’s not surprising that Pfau and Steuber were among those who responded to Wilson’s message. The two have known Wilson since the sixth grade when Wilson was their physical education instructor at Lange Middle School.
“Chris and Taylor have had to deal with me for years,” Wilson said with a laugh. “I guess that means I’ve been chewing them out since they were only about 12.”
The long-term relationship that Wilson has with many of his players, including Pfau and Steuber, is what he loves most about coaching.
“Without a doubt, the joy of coaching is seeing these kids grow up and mature as players and as people,” Wilson said. “Seeing a kid grow up and then watching them make a big play in a game like this...now that’s special.”
Just as special as someone’s first home run.
Hickman faces Eureka at 3:30 today at Legion Fields in Jefferson City.