CHICAGO — A ballplayer with roots in Middletown played a key role in a historic game for one of Major League Baseball’s most iconic franchises — and ballparks.
Kyle Schwarber was one of three Chicago Cubs to hit homers Tuesday night, helping the long-beleaguered club clinch a postseason series at Wrigley Field for the first time in history, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 to win the NL Division Series in four games.
Schwarber's tape-measure blast in the seventh-inning landed - and sat - on top of the scoreboard.
WATCH Schwarber's homer.
It didn’t take long after Middletown High grad's big swing for sports pundits and social media to marvel at the feat:
— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) October 13, 2015
SCHWARBER Home Run is stuck up there pic.twitter.com/ZjOi99ztOj
— Chandler Parrish (@Chandyparrish) October 13, 2015
Schwarber, playing left field, even called his shot, Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler revealed.
"Yeah," Schwarber said, "and I was just joking around. I said, 'I'm going to hit a home run off this guy (Cardinals reliever Kevin Siegrist)' and he's like, 'Well, do it.' There you go."
Schwarber, a 22-year-old rookie, led both teams with three home runs in the series and hit .500 (5-for-10).
Since making his MLB debut this summer, Schwarber has had the chance to show off his slugging prowess twice at Great American Ball Park. First, the rookie catcher led the U.S. to an All-Star Futures Game win as part Cincinnati’s All-Star Game 2015 festivities. Then, less than two weeks later, Schwarber homered twice to put the Cubs over the Reds in 13 innings.
Only once since they last brought home the World Series in 1908 had the Cubs won a playoff series and never before had they finished off the job at their century-plus-old ballpark.
The Cubs will face the winner of the Los Angeles Dodgers-New York Mets matchup, which is tied 2-2. The deciding game is Thursday night.
Chicago will play Game 1 Saturday on the road.
No team was hotter down the stretch than Chicago, which finished third in the majors with 97 wins after five straight losing seasons.
The Cubs knocked out the two teams that finished ahead of them in the NL Central, beating Pittsburgh in the wild-card game and sending St. Louis home after it led the majors with 100 wins.
"I think we're too young to even realize what we just did," young slugger Kris Bryant said. "It truly is a special time right now."