Chipper Jones' visit a home run for Columbus High student Emily Wynn at Atlanta Braves game

spedersen@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 14, 2012 

Chipper Jones and the Atlanta Braves rolled out the red carpet Friday for the most popular high school softball player in town.

Emily Wynn, a Columbus High sophomore, caught Jones' walk-off home run against the Phillies on Sept. 2. After the game, she gave officials the ball at Jones' request and met catcher Brian McCann.

While thankful for the opportunity to see McCann, the 15-year-old Emily was disappointed not to meet Jones.

The third baseman more than made up for it Friday.

Before the game against the division-leading Nationals, Jones visited with Emily -- as well as her parents, Kelly and Charles Wynn; sister Abby, 11; friends Olivia Dowe, 15, and Laura Beth Dowe, 14; and their parents -- and arranged for free lower-level tickets behind home plate.

The eight of them arrived at Turner Field around 4:30 p.m. and were escorted to batting practice. They stood in a roped section for over an hour and watched the team stretch and hit. When Jones was finished, the group was invited to the dugout.

"Hello, young lady," Jones said. "I just had to shake your hand and thank you for the ball. You made a nice catch out there bare-handed."

Emily and her friends received several autographs and took a lot of photos.

Jones explained his absence that night after the game.

Normally he gives fans a bat or hat and enjoys meeting with them, he said, but some fans have been somewhat aggressive and taken the demands too far.

After learning of Emily's catch through the Ledger-Enquirer article and later tweets, Jones sent out an invitation over Twitter.

"Hey Emily Wynn! Get back here to the Ted, so I can properly thank you and congratulate you on a fine bare handed snag. I need a pic with u!!" Jones tweeted.

Emily responded: "@RealCJ10 you say the date and I will be there! Please let me know how we can work this out! I would love to meet you!"

The Braves communication department and Emily's mother took care of the rest.

The group chatted with Jones on Friday for about five minutes. Emily asked about his collection of baseballs, and he said he has over 400 he's kept from his career. Jones is set to retire at the end of the season.

"I can't believe this," she said. "That's just crazy."

After the meeting, Emily and her group stayed 20 minutes longer and received more autographs and took photos with other Braves.

Emily also was interviewed by MLB Productions for the show "Caught Looking," which airs on NBC Sports on Sept. 20. The crew said they are putting together a section of memorable Jones moments.

Emily wasn't the only one with a special moment.

Olivia Dowe met and talked with Martin Prado. Olivia, who also plays softball at Columbus High, told Prado she wears No. 14, Prado's number. After taking photos with the girls, the left fielder gave Olivia his batting gloves but had one requirement.

"Wear these when you play," Prado told her.

After meeting Jones, Prado, manager Fredi Gonzalez and several others, Emily Wynn was almost speechless.

"Who would have thought this would happen?" she said.

When asked how big of a day this was for her, she didn't hesitate.

"It's huge," she said. "Best day."

What about if she gets married or has children?

"This day may even be better than those," she said.

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