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Idaho native beats Yankees with walk-off hit

Five years ago, no MLB team wanted him
Game winning walk-off home run by Michael Stefanic
Posted at 8:50 AM, Jul 19, 2023

This article was originally written and shared by Michael Lycklama of the Idaho Statesman.

Undrafted out of college, Michael Stefanic sent a homemade highlight reel to all 30 Major League Baseball teams, hoping to convince someone to give him a chance. The tape may have earned him a professional baseball career.

The Timberline grad added the highlight of his life Monday. Stefanic came off the bench Monday to rip a pinch-hit, walk-off single into left field, leading the Angels to a 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees in 10 innings.

Stefanic, who grew up a Boston Red Sox fan, told The Associated Press that getting his first career walk-off hit against the Yankees was extra special. “A little bit sweet to do that,” Stefanic, 27, told AP. “I’m a line drive hitter, and I wanted to elevate and get something over the infield. I got a change-up and executed it.”

The walk-off hit provided another chapter to Stefanic’s underdog career. The Angels signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2018 to be a fill-in player, with no promises how long his professional career would last.

But the utility infielder continued to hit at every level, posting a combined .319 batting average across all minor-league levels in the Angels’ organization. That includes a career .332 mark at the Triple-A level.

Unable to ignore him any longer, the Angels brought Stefanic to the majors for the first time last summer at 26 years old. He hit just .197 in 25 games last season, leading him back to Triple-A Salt Lake City. But the Angels have called him up twice this season, including on Friday, as three players battled injuries. He went 1-for-3 with an RBI while starting at second base Friday before his game-winning hit Monday made him 4-for-11 (.364) this season.