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Oakdales Burke Corrals Pennant-Clinching Blast
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The most dramatic hit in the era of the modern day San Francisco Giants – a three-run, pennant clinching blast off the bat of journeyman Travis Ishikawa – landed in the hands of Oakdale’s Frank Burke.

Now, it is back with the man who hit it, sending the Giants to the World Series, and Burke has his place in history.

“Just fantastic,” said Michelle Burke, Frank’s wife, detailing the account of the game-winning ball finding her husband in the stands on Thursday night.

“He (Frank) took one of our employees to the game,” Michelle explained on Friday morning, noting that Frank was already at work, but still riding high off the excitement of the Game 5 victory.

Ishikawa came up in the bottom of the ninth with the game tied, runners on first and second and one out and hit a 2-0 pitch deep to right-center field, to the number five archway at AT&T Park.

“He knew the way it was coming, they were going to win the game,” Michelle said, with the arc of the ball indicating it was going to hit off the bricks or go over, either way getting the runner in from second with the winning run. “Then he saw the angle and he leaned over, he didn’t have a glove, but he corralled the ball and held it up, everybody around him wanted to take pictures of him with the ball, touch the ball.”

Pandemonium in the ballpark notwithstanding, Frank Burke wanted to get the ball authenticated and found a security guard, who got him down to the locker room. The ball was taken and, once authenticated, Ishikawa was asked if he wanted the ball.

“When they opened up the locker room door, he could see all the players and the champagne, Ishikawa came out and gave Frank a signed bat, Frank gave him the ball,” Michelle explained.

Frank did take the opportunity to ask for World Series tickets, she added, but those could not be given out. However, he also anticipates getting another bat, this one signed by Buster Posey, in exchange for the historic division series-clinching home run baseball.

Michelle Burke said she wasn’t able to go on Thursday night because she was with her daughters at their high school volleyball match.

“When we were coming back, I had the radio on listening to KNBR to the game, which the girls didn’t want,” she said, laughing.

Stopping at the local Wendy’s to pick up some food, Michelle said they had the game on TV and she saw the game-winning home run and noticed it was very close to where her husband was sitting in the stands.

“I was waiting for my food and my phone rang, it was Frank saying “I caught that ball, I’m holding that ball,” – I put my phone down inside Wendy’s and just screamed to everybody that was in there that my husband had caught the ball.”

A memorable night, a piece of history for an Oakdale man, and – for the Giants – a third trip to the World Series in five years.

Kansas City, here we come.