Boise Hawks players commemorate first pro homers

Zagunis, Vosler both went deep Monday, and their host families retrieved the baseballs.

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.comJuly 16, 2014 

  • HAWKS WIN IN 10

    Jeffrey Baez singled in Chesny Young in the bottom of the 10th on Tuesday night to give the Boise Hawks their second straight win over Northwest League-leading Spokane.

    Baez racked up three hits in the win for the Hawks. Young, Rashad Crawford and Mark Malave had two hits apiece. Hawks pitchers struck out a dozen Spokane batters - starter Erick Leal had five, reliever Ryan Williams had two and Sam Wilson had five in two innings each.

— Wherever their baseball careers take them, Mark Zagunis and Jason Vosler will have mementos from Monday night's game at Memorial Stadium.

Both players hit their first professional home runs in the Boise Hawks' win, and unbeknownst to them, had some dedicated fans to preserve the memory.

Zagunis and Vosler's host families went in search of their fourth-inning home run balls, scouring the ground beyond the wall, where there is no seating.

"There are moments that are more special than others," Vosler said. "We're on the first step of a dream, and to have some success when you get here, that's what makes it special and why you want to remember it."

Neither player considers himself particularly sentimental, but both were excited to find after the game there was something to commemorate such a big moment.

Zagunis says he only treasures one other ball - the one he hit for Virginia Tech on May 23, 2013 to beat then-No. 7 Florida State on a walk-off home run.

"I don't need to keep one after every hit, but I'm pretty glad to have that first home run ball," Zagunis said.

The Landoch family, Zagunis' hosts, found the ball beyond the right field wall, while Vosler's host brother, 12-year-old Ryan Thiel, found his.

Vosler, who already has the ball he belted for his first pro hit July 5, joked that his parents have plenty of memorabilia, but the two he's already kept in his first seven games in Boise will stay with him.

"You can only have so many firsts, so I'm happy with those two," said Vosler, who hit one home run at Northeastern University this season. "I'll put the date on it, where it was, who it was off, all that stuff."

As much as the players relished their first home runs, it was also a bit of relief.

"Once you get it out of the way, you can relax a little bit, focus on your game, not try to overdo anything," Vosler said.

For Zagunis, the baseball from Monday's game not only is a reminder of his first pro home run, but of a baseball rarity - he hit for the cycle in the 11-6 win. It was the first cycle for a Boise Hawk since Aug. 4, 1994, and the first in the Northwest League since Aug. 29, 2007.

"It's crazy, I don't know if there's anything that feels quite like that, and I'm not sure it'll ever happen again, but I'll always have something that'll make me remember it," Zagunis said.

Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_Southorn

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