Two grand slams in one inning. It’s a feat so rare that it’s hard to quantify. It has been done just one single time in Major League Baseball history.
For comparison’s sake, there have been 296 no hitters and 23 perfect games thrown in major league history.
And MLB players have hit for the cycle a total of 311 times. But two grand slams, even in the same game, remains incredibly unlikely. In fact, in more than 100 years of Major League Baseball, only 13 players have ever hit two grand slams in the same game.
So, it’s probably safe to say that two grand slams in one inning is a feat never before accomplished by a Monticello baseball player.
Until this past Sunday.
With two swings of the bat, Michael Olson of the Monticello Polecats joined a very, very short list of human beings who can say they’ve done just that.
Olson and the ‘Cats were playing Rogers on Sunday, and found themselves trailing 4-0 going into the fifth inning.
Olson started the game 0 for 2, but when he came up with the bases loaded in a 4-0 game, he knew he had a chance to change things.
However, the former Concordia (Moorhead) standout said he really wasn’t focused on evening things up with one swing, or on taking out earlier frustrations.
“I try to eliminate anything I’ve done before, and just go up there looking for the pitch that I want,” said Olson.
He got it. The Rogers pitcher threw him a fastball over the plate and Olson turned on it in a hurry, depositing it over the left-field fence.
That swing tied the game at four, and gave Olson just the second grand slam of his career. He wouldn’t have to wait long for the third.
Later that inning, Olson came back up to the plate with the bases jammed once again.
He said that he certainly considered the two grand slam possibility during his walk to the batters box, but he didn’t go into the at bat swinging for it.
“In the past I would’ve been a little more fired up and put more pressure on myself,” he said. “I’ve done a better job of staying within myself this year.”
The Rogers pitcher got two strikes on Olson, but it wouldn’t matter. The Polecats slugger got a two-strike pitch to his liking and clubbed it down the left field line. A wind blowing out, and away from the foul pole, gave it any last boost that it may have needed as the ball cruised over the fence for the second grand slam.
As jaw-droppingly impressive as two grand slams are, Olson was well aware they wouldn’t be possible without the help of his teammates.
“I was lucky that I had Joe Tupy, who was batting in front of me, being pretty patient up there,” he said.
Olson praised Tupy as a player with great baseball smarts and awareness.
“He realized it’d be good for me to bat with the bases loaded again,” he said. “That’s how he plays.”
Unbelievably enough, Olson got one more chance to add to his historic day in the next inning. Well, kind of. He came up with the bases loaded one more time, but Rogers had apparently learned their lesson. The slugger saw four pitches during the at bat, none of which came close to the strike zone, and had to settle for a walk to bring in his ninth RBI of the day.
“The selfish part of me wanted to swing,” said Olson. “But he wasn’t really around the zone.”
Still, it was a day that will likely long be remembered in the Monticello baseball community.
“I was just happy to capitalize,” said Olson. “It was a fun experience.”
Late-inning rout keeps ‘Cats rolling
Olson’s home runs were part of a 14-run fifth inning that turned a 4-0 deficit into an 18-4 rout and helped the Polecats move to 7-1 on the season, including 4-0 in league play.
Coach Gary Revenig said that he wasn’t thrilled with the way the ‘Cats started Sunday’s game but he was thrilled to see things turn around. Revenig said everyone on the team started hitting in the fifth, and the bullpen strung together five shutout innings with Michael Revenig getting the win in relief, while Nick Zwack and Joe Kounkel each contributed scoreless frames as well.
The prior day, Monti beat Elk River 4-2 behind six shutout innings from Tanner Eckhart. The former Magic standout struck out eight batters in his first appearance of the summer.
“He just went right at them,” said Revenig. “He was phenomenal.”
Tupy threw two innings of relief, and Andrew Manning threw the ninth to pick up the save.
So far this year, the ‘Cats have been winning with an impressive balance of offense and defense.
Olson has definitely been the biggest key to the offense thus far, entering Sunday’s game with a batting average well over .500, according to Revenig.
And Sunday was hardly his first big game of the season. Just a couple of weeks prior, Olson recorded three triples in an extra-inning win against St. Cloud.
“Man is he good,” said Revenig. “He’s absolutely crushing the baseball.”
Revenig said two of Olson’s triples were to the opposite field. He also lines balls up the middle, and on Sunday both home runs were pulled to left field.
“He uses the whole field,” said Revenig. “He is just a tough, tough out.”
Eckhart, Aaron Hanson, Tupy, and Braydon Hanson have all had big games at the plate in the early going for Monticello as well.
Pitching wise, Monti hopes to rely on a bevy of different arms this summer. Eckhart, Zwack, Revenig, Jakob Kounkel, Tupy, Michael Terres, Manning, and Ben Schaben are among the quality arms that Monti can throw out there on any given day.
“The strength of the team is going to be the pitching staff,” said Revenig, before adding that Monti is well-balanced on both sides of the ball.
“We’ve just got a deep staff and a lot of balance in our lineup,” he said. “We have a lot of guys that can contribute.”
Olson shared a similar sentiment, and said it’s a fun team to be a part of right now.
“We’ve got a pretty young team,” he said. “They can all hit the ball, they can all play.”
“We have a chance of winning every time we show up,” said Olson.
The Polecats have a key showdown coming up this Friday night, when they’ll travel East down I-94 to take on the St. Michael Saints. The Saints won the division last year, and are currently tied with the Polecats at 4-0 this season.
The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday at St. Michael. The teams will meet again at 7:30 p.m. on July 7 in Monticello.
Contact Clay Sawatzke at [email protected]