Wash. medic, dispatcher wins $10K in minor league grand slam
Kelly Hunter has worked for AMR for over 25 years and is unsure what he will do with his winnings
By Garrett Cabeza
SPOKANE, Wash. — With the crack of a bat, a Spokane Indians fan left Avista Stadium Friday night with $10,000 and a new favorite player.
Kelly Hunter was the beneficiary of Yanquiel Fernandez's grand slam as part of $10,000 Grand Slam Night presented by Washington's Lottery and Hot 96.9.
"It was just elation," Hunter said. "I just threw my arms up and said, 'Holy crap,' or something like that."
Hunter, a 55-year-old Post Falls resident, said he attends Indians games every month with friends, family and coworkers.
He's worked for American Medical Response for over 25 years, first as a paramedic and now as a dispatcher. He also bought Loon Lake Marina earlier this year.
Hunter filled out a form to be entered into the Grand Slam contest, which is held once each season, at Friday's game against the Vancouver Canadians.
A fan's name was announced each inning, and if an Indians player hit a grand slam that inning, the fan would win $10,000. Hunter was selected as the contestant for the eighth inning.
Hunter said he and his loved ones were making jokes that inning of what needed to happen for the bases to be loaded. Eventually, the bases were full with two outs and Fernandez at the plate.
The inning should have already been over after a previous batter hit a routine ground ball to the Canadians shortstop, who instead of making a force out at any base, held onto the ball.
Fernandez connected well with a pitch just prior to the home run, but it went foul. Hunter said he looked at his wife and said Fernandez just needed to hit a hard line drive for a home run.
"Sure enough, he hit it and I was like, 'Are you kidding me,' and then the party started," Hunter said.
The crowd went crazy for the grand slam and for Hunter.
"The players were ecstatic, the crowd was wild and it was a very fun moment, obviously for Kelly (Hunter), but for us as well," said Bud Bareither, Indians director of public relations.
Bareither said it was the second time in three years a fan went home with the grand slam money.
The crowd was just as excited for Hunter as he was, he said, making the win all the more fun.
"We got tons of high fives and 'that's awesome' and 'congrats,' and I thought that was pretty cool," he said.
Hunter met Fernandez after the game and posed for a picture with the home-run slugger and a large $10,000 check. Fernandez also signed the home run ball for Hunter, whose children already bought him a glass case for the ball.
Fernandez commented on an Indians Instagram social media post, which named him Player of the Game, that said, "Money for me too" with crying laughing emojis in reference to the $10,000.
"Just the crack of the bat, you could hear it, and you're like, 'Oh, he got all of that one,' " Hunter said. "So yeah, he's my new favorite player on their team."
Hunter is unsure what he will do with his winnings. In fact, he's still just trying to process what happened.
"I still don't believe it," Hunter said.