Superman! Witt Jr. hits warp speed for an inside-the-parker

August 15th, 2023

KANSAS CITY -- Once reaches full speed, it’s hard for him to stop.

The Mariners found that out in just 14.3 seconds during Kansas City's wild 7-6 walk-off win on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.

In the fifth inning of the series opener, Witt ripped a 105.9 mph line drive to right field off Mariners starter Logan Gilbert. Right fielder Dominic Canzone ran in but lost the ball in the lights, and Witt was off to the races.

The ball rolled all the way to the wall, and Witt only sped up as he made his turn around third. He beat the throw home with ease and extended his arms to signify the safe call as he glided over the plate.

“I guess the baseball gods were on my side,” Witt said. “The lights helped me out a little bit, I think. I thought he caught it, and then I saw him run around, and then I just looked to advance, running as fast as I can.

“I knew there was a chance … you just got to run.”

And run he did. Witt earned his first career inside-the-park homer with an elite 30.2 ft./sec. sprint speed on his trip around the bases.

“I’m assuming the ball got in the lights, and once it did, all I was thinking was ‘Send him,’” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “It’s fun to watch him run.

“He even pulled up at first, so whatever that time was would have been even better [if he hadn't].”

It was Kansas City’s first inside-the-park homer since Whit Merrifield in 2019, when he hit two that season, and the 102nd in franchise history.

While it was Witt’s first in the Majors, it wasn’t the first time he did it with the Royals’ organization. Witt’s first Triple-A home run in 2021 was an inside-the-parker.

“That was incredible,” said starter Brady Singer, who didn’t allow a hit until two outs in the seventh inning. “When I saw [Canzone] miss the ball, I said 'There’s definitely a chance he can get around them,' and then obviously he did. That’s another incredible thing [Witt] did.”

Witt ended the night 4-for-5 for his fifth career four-hit game, and is batting .453 with six home runs and 21 RBIs over his past 15 games. His fourth hit of the night was a single during a ninth inning that later allowed Kansas City to tie the game on Salvador Perez’s sac fly. One batter later, Dairon Blanco walked it off on a bunt single to cap the Royals’ wild victory.

“The whole team was fighting the whole time,” Singer said. “It’s something we’ve done all year. It’s really good to see that tonight and that’s what we’ve been doing -- fighting until the last out.”