Steve Fejfar watched as one of his teammates circled the bases after hitting a towering home run off the scoreboard in right center field.
Fejfar turned to another Elk Point Colt 45s teammate sitting next to him in the dugout and said, “He did not just do that, did he?”
This wasn’t just any home run, however.
It came off the bat of his son, Preston.
“I ran out to home plate right away,” Steve said Monday.
Steve, an amateur baseball veteran, wasn’t about to let his son completely steal the show during Sunday’s State Line League doubleheader between Elk Point and Larchwood (Iowa) in Elk Point.
Instead, they ensured it was a truly special day for the Fejfar family.
After 20-year-old Preston homered in the first game of the doubleheader, 53-year-old Steve did the same in the second game.
It’s likely not the first time that’s ever happened — father and son homering in the same game, or even on the same day — in the long history of the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association, but it certainly qualifies as rare.
“It’s pretty special to be able to play together, let alone hit one on the same day,” Preston said Monday.
That’s what made Sunday particularly memorable for the father and son tandem.
“I don’t remember my first one (in 1986), but I’ll always remember his,” said Steve, who has played amateur baseball for three decades.
Preston, who joked that he’ll always be able to proudly say that his home run came before his father’s, said he immediately thought of his father as he rounded the bases after hitting the ball off the scoreboard.
“When I got to second base, I thought about how my dad always hit home runs,” Preston said. “That was when it became real.”
Although Preston said he tried to hold back a smile, he couldn’t keep it inside any longer once he finally saw his father near home plate.
“When I finally saw him, I couldn’t stop smiling,” Preston said.
Not only was the home run the first of Preston’s young amateur career (this is his first season as a full-time player), it came at a critical point in Sunday’s first game against Larchwood.
Elk Point held a narrow 3-1 lead at that point in the game, and Preston’s three-run shot padded the lead — the Colt 45s eventually secured a 6-2 victory. Preston also contributed a double and a single in the win.
“He was a big reason we won that one,” Steve said.
The excitement of the moment carried over into the next inning, according to Preston.
“That next inning after I hit mine, I was on third base thinking about it,” he said. “I thought about how cool it was to be able to hit one with my dad still there.”
Steve then wasted little time joining his son in the homer parade.
In the first inning of the second game, he homered down the left field line, but admitted that he didn’t realize the magnitude of the accomplishment until he was back in the dugout.
“I didn’t put two and two together until I got back in and guys were talking about it,” Steve said. “That’s when it hit me.”
It also didn’t take long for Preston to point out to his father that his home run went further.
“He’s right,” Steve joked. “Mine was like 305 feet down the line.”
While Preston continues to make the adjustment to amateur baseball, his father is one of the longest-tenured players in the state.
Steve, once a long-time member of the Tabor Bluebirds, retired after the 2012 season. He was then away from the sport for four years, but was called back to duty by friends with the Vermillion Grey Sox. Steve played for the Grey Sox in 2017 and 2018, and now has played for Elk Point for two years.
“There’s always the passion to play,” Steve said. “The fact that I can still play and can still catch is huge, too.
“If I couldn’t catch and had to (be the designated hitter), I don’t know that I’d have that same passion.”
The idea of playing alongside his son certainly had a rejuvenating effect, Steve added.
“It’s still fun to do, but getting to play with Preston is even better,” Steve said. “It’s a good feeling to see him out there, when you’ve watched him for play for years or coached him for a few years.”
The opportunity to play together isn’t something Preston ever takes for granted, he said.
“Every game, there’s always someone in the dugout who says how special this is, to be able to play with your dad,” Preston added.
If you and your father hitting a home run in the same game (or on the same day) is a bucket list item for a young baseball player, so too would be pitching to your father, according to Preston.
“Hopefully one of these games, I’ll be able to pitch to him,” he said. “I don’t know if we’d have the chance, but I would love that.”
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