COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Chipper Jones’ heroic home run Sunday deserves an equally dramatic story from the fan who caught the ball.
An injured Columbus High softball player provided it.
Jones jolted a walk-off three-run homer to cap the Atlanta Braves’ five-run ninth-inning rally for an 8-7 win against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Emily Wynn, 15, her mother, Kelly, and 11-year-old sister Abby, were among the faithful who didn’t leave Turner Field before the Braves’ final at-bat, but nobody was rewarded for her loyalty more than Emily.
Kelly told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, “I think it was Emily who said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if Chipper hit one out?’ I’m thinking, ‘There’s no way that’s going to happen.’”
But Jones came through. And so did Emily.
“When he swung, it was like slow motion,” Kelly said. “The ball came to us in a pretty high arc, and I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh! We’re about to get hit by this ball,’”
Emily, however, forgot about her injured arm -- and the two fingers she broke last year -- and reached up with her bare hands for a clean catch.
“There was one guy who came a few seats over and looked like he wanted to take it from me,” Emily said, “but that wasn’t going to happen.”
Security escorted the family down to an area next to the Braves’ locker room.
“This guy came in and said Chipper wanted the ball back but I could have another ball autographed by him in return,” Emily said.
She immediately complied. The family also received game-day Braves hats -- as well as a visit with catcher Brian McCann, who happened by -- but Emily now wishes she held out for a better deal.
“I should have asked them to let me give Chipper the ball,” she said.