The Eau Claire Express recently got a bit of national attention, and they have Devon Garcia’s glove to thank for that.
The team’s speedy center fielder made a diving catch at full extension deep in the gap in left-center field during a game against Rochester on June 23 at Carson Park.
The standout play landed Garcia a spot on ESPN’s SportsCenter, which featured the catch on its Top 10 plays of the night. Garcia’s catch checked in at No. 6.
“My Twitter blew up, because obviously on social media that can spread pretty quickly,” Garcia said. “Once they put it up, it was pretty awesome to hear everyone telling me congrats on making the Top 10.”
The outfielder, who plays college ball at Ohio University, had to run a long way to track down the fly ball. He was playing closer to right field than to left at the time.
“I was shifted to the right-center gap actually, because the guy kept fouling it off to the right side,” Garcia said. “He ends up turning on one to the left-center gap, and obviously I’m going to try my hardest to get the ball.
“As I was getting closer, I was like ‘holy crap, I might have a chance at this.’ So by the time I dove, I was already pretty hyped that I ran that far. I was already yelling by the time I got up. It was awesome.”
The catch helped Eau Claire keep Rochester from getting into scoring position with an extra-base hit in the middle of a close game. The Express went on to win 6-4 thanks to some timely hitting and flawless defense.
The Express have a lot of speed across the board in the outfield, and they’ve used it to good effect on the defensive side of things. Of the team’s regular outfielders, none had more than two errors this season entering Saturday night’s game against Bismarck.
Garcia has played almost 200 innings and has a fielding percentage of .958.
For some of the people close to Garcia, they saw it as only a matter of time before he made a name for himself on a national stage.
“It’s funny, because my brothers said ‘From BCSN,’ which is a local sports broadcast back home, ‘to ESPN, we knew you’d make it there some day,’” Garcia said.