Baseball

Tebow homers as Fireflies roll past GreenJackets

Tim Tebow's first game with the Columbia Fireflies: 'We are in this together'

Tim Tebow played his first minor league baseball game with the Columbia Fireflies Thursday, April 6, 2017. He hit a home run, and struck out twice. He says he learns something everyday, and that he is on this journey along with the rest of the tea
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Tim Tebow played his first minor league baseball game with the Columbia Fireflies Thursday, April 6, 2017. He hit a home run, and struck out twice. He says he learns something everyday, and that he is on this journey along with the rest of the tea

Tim Tebow knows how to make a debut.

The former Heisman Trophy winner hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat for the Columbia Fireflies on Thursday in a 14-7 win against the Augusta GreenJackets at Spirit Communications Park.

“It felt good,” Tebow said. “You definitely try to visualize your first at-bat. I’m just thankful I got the opportunity and made the most of that first at-bat.”

Fans were glued to Tebow’s every at-bat, and his arrival created a buzz since it was announced last month that he would be starting his minor league career with the Mets’ South Atlantic League affiliate.

Nearly 8,500 fans were there to see Tebow’s debut. Reporters from ESPN, New York Times, New York Post and The Sporting News were on hand to cover his debut. Tebow appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter after the game.

Tebow received a large ovation when he took the field for warm-ups and during introductions. He stopped to sign autographs and talked to little leaguers who were on the field before the game.

In his first at-bat, Tebow took a 2-1 fastball on the outside of the plate from Augusta’s Domenic Mazza, a 22nd-round pick (666th overall) in the 2015 draft and former runner-up in 2010 Remax Long Drive contest, for a home run over the 372-foot mark of the left-center field fence on a windy night. Gusts were blowing out around 20 mph before the game started.

Initially, Tebow thought it was a double as the ball bounced back off the railing behind the fence. He stopped at second, but the umpires ruled it a home run.

After the ruling, Tebow pumped his fist in the air and fans rose to their feet as Tebow crossed the plate with many chanting “Tebow! Tebow!”

Tim Tebow hits a home run in first at bat with minor league baseball team Columbia Fireflies.

“You hear special things happen to special people and that was a special moment right there,” Fireflies manager Jose Leger said. “It put the team on the board right there and it set the tone.”

Tebow, who said he had butterflies before the game, worked with hitting coach Joel Fuentes for more than an hour on hitting fastballs to the opposite way.

“It’s all about going back to your approach, mindset and game plan,” Tebow said. “And when you get the opportunities, then you make the most of it.”

Tebow said he received the home run ball but isn’t sure what he is going to do with it. He also homered in his first at-bat in the Florida Instructional League in the fall.

After Thursday’s homer, he grounded out to shortstop and then struck out three times, twice looking.

“There are things I will take away from every at-bat, some good, some not so good,” Tebow said. “I know so many people want to sensationalize it, but it is just one day, one opportunity. It is the first of a lot of games and tomorrow will be another opportunity to wake up, get work and get better.”

Tebow’s blast was one of three from the Fireflies. Michael Paez, who played at Coastal Carolina, and first baseman Dash Winningham also homered. Catcher Ali Sanchez was 3-for-4.

Columbia native Gene Cone walked four times and scored two runs in his Fireflies’ debut.

Tim Tebow weighs in on minor league debut and home ring in first at-bat.

Augusta

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Marks cf

4

1

2

2

1

0

Fabian rf

5

0

2

3

0

2

Kirby 1b

5

0

1

1

0

0

Heyward lf

3

0

0

0

2

3

Geraldo 3b

5

1

2

0

0

1

Beltre 2b

5

1

1

0

0

2

Van Horn ss

5

1

1

1

0

2

Albertson c

3

2

1

0

2

1

Rivera dh

3

1

1

0

1

0

TOTALS

38

7

11

7

6

12

Columbia

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Cone rf

1

2

0

0

4

0

Carpio 2b

5

2

2

2

0

0

Lindsay cf

3

1

0

1

1

2

Tiberi 3b

3

3

2

1

2

1

Winningham 1b

5

1

3

4

0

1

Paez ss

4

1

2

2

1

1

Tebow lf

5

1

1

2

0

3

Ramos dh

5

0

0

0

0

2

Sanchez c

4

3

3

0

1

0

TOTALS

35

14

13

12

9

10

Augusta

000

500

020

7

Columbia

025

103

03x

14

E — Cabrera. DP — Augusta 1. LOB — Augusta 10, Columbia 7. 2B — Marks; Fabian; Van Horn; Carpio; Tiberi; Paez. HR — Winningham; Paez; Tebow. SB — Marks; Heyward; Lindsay. CS — Winningham.

Augusta

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Mazza L, 0-1

2 2/3

7

7

7

1

2

Solter

2 1/3

2

1

1

2

4

Cabrera

1

3

3

0

1

2

Yanez

1

1

3

3

4

0

Burke

1

0

0

0

1

2

Columbia

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Gonzalez

3 2/3

6

5

5

3

3

Blackham W, 1-0

2

1

0

0

2

3

Kuhns

2 1/3

3

2

2

1

4

Griffin

1

1

0

0

0

2

WP — Cabrera; Yanez. PB — Sanchez. Umpires — HP: Ben Phillips 1B: Dillon Wilson. T — 3:37. A — 8,412.

Tim Tebow's first minor league home run as a Columbia Firefly in slow motion.

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