Inside-the-park home runs are rare. But a walk-off inside-the-park home run? That’s even more uncommon.
There are about 20 inside-the-park homers every MLB season, but rarely does a team win a game on one. The last walk-off inside-the-park homer was by Cleveland’s Tyler Naquin in 2016 (one of three such homers that year, surprisingly).
Naquin’s clutch play came in a game that was tied 2–2 in the ninth. Twins prospect Alex Isola had an even more dramatic inside-the-parker on Sunday.
Isola came to the plate in the bottom of the 10th inning with the Wichita Wind Surge trailing the Springfield Cardinals 12–11. Yunior Severino was the automatic runner on second base. Isola hit a line drive to center that Springfield center fielder Victor Scott II tried to dive to catch. He missed, allowing Severino to score the tying run. Meanwhile, Isola sprinted around the bases as the ball trickled toward the wall. He slid safely into home just ahead of the throw to win the game.
Isola isn’t a speed demon by any stretch of the imagination. In 248 career minor league games, the 5'11" catcher/first baseman has just six stolen bases. He’s never hit a triple, either. Even after Scott missed on his diving attempt, he didn’t think he was going to be able to score.
“In my head, I was thinking maybe a double because I’m a very slow person,” Isola said after the game, according to The Wichita Eagle. “But then it rolled all the way to the wall and I started thinking I was going to score. I was just waiting for our third-base coach (Takashi Miyoshi) to throw up the stop sign, but he waved me home and that’s when I started running out of gas.”