OAKLAND — Long before he starred for the Cal State Fullerton baseball team, Matt Chapman watched lots of Titans games as a kid and even served as a bat boy for the team.
One of the players that used to catch his eye in those days — current A’s teammate Khris Davis. What a special night it was Saturday for Chapman, who hit the first two homers of his career and then watched Davis launch a walk-off two-run homer to beat the Cleveland Indians 5-3.
Davis played at Fullerton from 2007-09. Chapman was done serving as a bat boy by then, but he watched Davis many times from the seats as a fan. Chapman would later star for Fullerton himself from 2012-14 and be the A’s top pick in the 2014 draft.
“The first time we met he told me my poster was up in the Fullerton locker room. It made me feel like a big deal,” Davis said in a deadpan manner.
That first encounter came during spring training 2016. Davis had just arrived in a trade from Milwaukee and Chapman was participating in his first big league spring camp.
“I kind of didn’t really think about any of it until I got to big league camp and started playing with him,” Chapman said. “It was cool to be able to watch him when I was younger and now play with him and just see the things that he’s capable of doing. He’s got some pretty special talents with that bat.”
Davis’ game-winner — the second walk-off homer of his career — was typical of his unique power. After Yonder Alonso drew a leadoff walk off Indians star closer Andrew Miller, the right-handed Bryan Shaw entered and Davis worked the count to full. On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Davis got a cutter low in the zone and somehow drove it to the opposite field, a low liner that surprised even Davis when it cleared the right field wall. Davis came in 0-for-4 with four strikeouts against Shaw.
He takes particular pride in the homers he hits to the opposite field at the Coliseum, a home park known for being very tough for right-handers to show power to right.
“The ones that surprise are the ones that are really down the line, near the foul pole. Those ones are my favorites,” Davis said. “I’m just glad I could deliver in a big spot. The crowd was going crazy on Ricky Henderson Night. It was pretty cool.”