One ball, two home runs

Garrett Tygerson knows what it feels like to hit a home run. And hitting two on the same day during a doubleheader is twice the thrill.

But what the Ashland Pilots slugger did Friday at Klamath Falls will go down in Ashland baseball lore.

Ashland entered the day needing a sweep over the Hawks to stay within striking distance of North Medford in the American Legion A Area 4 standings. Tygerson stepped to the plate in the first inning of Game — with an opportunity to help the Pilots jump on top early. He did so, clobbering a pitch over the fence in left field for his fifth home run of the season.

Ashland went on to win easily 15-0, as the game ended early by the 10-run mercy rule. During the snack break between games, Ashland assistant coach Dave Tygerson, Garrett's dad, tracked down one of Ashland's thinner players, Josh McLaughlin, who was able to squeeze through a loose plank in a fence and track down the home run ball in a lumber yard.

Normally, the Pilots probably would not have gone through the trouble, but Dave Tygerson noticed before the game that the game balls were branded with the American Legion stamp, and told the team that he wanted one for keeps.

"They're kind of cool," he said.

Dave Tygerson was quick to mark the ball "GT HR 2/18/08" to represent who hit the ball, the significance and when it was hit.

Tygerson held on to the ball after that and would have for the remainder of the day, if not for a strange coincidence, and an accident during Game 2.

"I had it and I'm flipping it in my hand and they were short on balls," Tygerson recalls. "So I flipped it to the kid on deck without thinking."

Three innings later, in the fifth, Garrett Tygerson hit his second home run of the day, a monster shot to straight-away center field. Nobody thought anything of it at the time &

Ashland, after all, won the second game 10-0 in another five-inning blowout &

but when it came time to clean up Dave Tygerson remembered.

"I said, 'We've got time guys, why don't you give it a shot and see if you can find that ball.'"

So back to the lumberyard they went, but this time it was later (about 9:30 p.m.) and getting dark. But Tygerson, who dresses up home run balls for the Pilots, had a hunch that it was worth a shot.

He was proven right about 15 minutes later, when Pilots pitcher Brady Thomas and Garrett Tygerson came walking back.

"I see Garrett flipping the ball with this big goofy grin on his face," Dave Tygerson said. "And he goes, 'Look at this.' I go, 'Are you kidding me.'"

Tygerson the coach thought Tygerson the player was trying to pull a fast one, until he noticed the hand writing on the ball and realized that, yes, his son had hit the same ball over the fence twice.

"I was actually really confused," Garrett Tygerson said of the realization, "because my dad said he had it. I thought, how could that happen.

"It's something you don't really see."

Tygerson and company will try to pull off another incredible feat today when they host Area 4 rival North Medford. The Pilots (27-7, 25-5 Area 4) can clinch the league title and an automatic berth to the state tournament with a sweep. A loss would force the Pilots to host a state tournament play-in game Sunday.

Sports editor can be reached at 482-3456 x 224 or joe.

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