Drew Waters never had a reason to save a broken bat until he played in a Storm Chaser game on July 27.
The Omaha outfielder broke his bat during an at-bat against Syracuse's Trevor May in the seventh. But five innings earlier, that bat provided one of the career highlights for the 23-year-old Waters — he hit a three-run homer off two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom.
"I plan on keeping it the rest of my life," Waters said.
It actually was one of two home runs hit off deGrom in the second inning that day. Since then, deGrom has made two starts for the New York Mets. He was dominant in Sunday's start, retiring the first 17 batters he faced, including 12 by strikeout.
But on July 27, the Chasers beat deGrom, thanks to those two homers. Brewer Hicklen led off the inning with a drive down the left-field line. Hicklen said the team found out the day before that it would face deGrom.
"It was kind of funny, the chatter in the clubhouse, everybody was talking about how nasty he is and seeing him on TV," Hicklen said last week. "It's really cool, I obviously respect what he's done. But when you get in the box, honestly, it's you versus that ball. It really doesn't matter who's throwing it. That's kind of the mindset I had."
Hicklen said before the game he actually watched a YouTube video of players who had hit homers off deGrom. That got Hicklen into the right frame of mind.
"Someone in the clubhouse before the game said that you're going to be on SportsCenter tonight if you strikeout or if you hit a home run," Hicklen said. "I don't know if it made SportsCenter, but I definitely got a lot of text messages from it."
Hicklen, who is closing in on a 20-20 season for the Chasers as he has 19 homers and 22 stolen bases, said it was difficult not to smile when he was rounding the bases. Waters, a switch-hitter batting left-handed, felt the same way as his three-run homer just cleared the fence.
"Usually you can hide a smile when you're running around the bases, but in that particular moment, I had a pretty big smile on my face," Waters said. "It's a little bit of a win-win situation because I don't think many people expect you to succeed against Jacob deGrom."
Waters' first month with the Chasers certainly has been a success. He was traded to the Royals organization on July 11 from Atlanta, which drafted him out of high school in 2017 as the 41st overall pick.
After the trade, Waters was assigned to Omaha where he, like Hicklen, is showing a blend of power and speed that makes him an attractive major league prospect. In 21 games since the trade, Waters is batting .325 with five homers, 11 RBIs, 18 runs scored and nine steals.
"Once I was traded to the Royals, it was a little bit of a fresh breath," Waters said. "Now I feel I'm getting back to the player I've always been and capable of being."
It was bittersweet for Waters to leave the Braves since he went to high school just outside the Atlanta area. But with the Royals' ongoing youth movement, Waters sees an opportunity.
Waters was hitting just .246 in 49 Triple-A games for the Braves before the trade. But he likes working with the coaches in the Royals organization and how they've been able to improve his game.
"Now I know what the struggles are and I know what my strengths are," Waters said. "I'm able to make adjustments without just making temporary fixes."
Waters went 8 of 24 (.333) during last week's home series with St. Paul. The Chasers now hit the road for the next 12 games beginning with a 6:05 p.m. game Tuesday at Toledo.
Photos: Omaha Storm Chasers through the years
April 21, 1969: Galen Cisco, left, and Jack McKeon of the Omaha Royals.
Aug. 27, 1969: The Omaha Royals' first manager, Jack McKeon, celebrates. McKeon led the Chasers to back-to-back American Association titles in the franchise's first two years. McKeon would eventually lead the Florida Marlins to a World Series in 2003.
April 18, 1970: Nebraska coach Bob Devaney throws out the season's first pitch at the Royals game at Rosenblatt Stadium.
May 31, 1970: Paul Splitteroff at Rosenblatt Stadium.
1970: Omaha's Juan Rios slides home safely behind Wichita catcher Ken Suarez, as Omaha's Steve McMillan looks on at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Jan. 21, 1971: Former Major League Baseball infielder Loren Babe, left, with Omaha Royals Manager Jack McKeon.
An Omaha Royals team photo from 1970 and other minutia collected from the remains of Rosenblatt Stadium. The photo was taken June 8, 2012.
1972: Steve Busby, Omaha Royals pitcher.
April 12, 1972: Jack McKeon at Rosenblatt Stadium.
April 6, 1973: Frank White poses for a photo at Rosenblatt Stadium.
1973: Future Baseball Hall of Fame member George Brett poses for a photo at Rosenblatt Stadium.
June 29, 1977: Clint Hurdle at Rosenblatt Stadium.
April 2, 1979: Jim Bayly sweeps snow 11 days before the season opener at Rosenblatt.
1980: Omaha Royals pitcher Eddie Bane.
July 7, 1980: Steve Busby delivers a pitch.
April 4, 1992: Jeff Conine poses for a photo.
1982: Bombo Rivera, Omaha Royals.
May 19, 1983: Omaha Royals General Manager Bill Gorman poses for a photo in front of Rosenblatt Stadium.
1984: The San Diego chicken mascot entertains fans at Rosenblatt.
1984: Gene Lamont, Omaha Royals manager.
1985: Rob Crain, assistant general manager of the Storm Chasers, with team autographed baseballs from the 1985 Royals baseball team.
April 17, 1985: David Cone sports an Omaha Royals hat and a Kansas City Royals jacket at Rosenblatt Stadium.
April 26, 1985: City employee Terry Cuevas spreads mixture of solvent and gasoline on the infield at Rosenblatt Stadium as part of an effort to dry the field enough to cover it with a tarp. The tarp wasn't laid on the field the two previous nights and got soaked in an overnight rainfall. The Omaha Royals were unable to play the game scheduled with the Iowa Cubs.
June 29, 1985: Guitarist Michael Woods of the rock band "America," which played at Rosenblatt Stadium following the Omaha Royals game with the Oklahoma 89ers.
May 10, 1985: Fans in the crowd seek autographs from Kansas City players.
Aug. 8, 1986: Gus Cherry, Mayor Mike Boyle and Jack Diesing break ground for the Stadium Club at Rosenblatt Stadium.
May 28, 1988: Organist Lambert Bartak at Rosenblatt Stadium.
May 5, 1989: CBS pro football analyst John Madden tries on an Omaha Royals cap.
Aug. 16, 1990: Omaha Royals Manager Sal Rende gets a face full of cake from first baseman Russ Morman after winning the league title.
Sept. 5, 1991: Construction takes place at Rosenblatt Stadium.
1991: The final signing of the ownership papers for the Omaha Royals. Seated from left: John Boyer, Bill Gorman, Joe Adams, Mary Ann Luby. Standing from left, Rob Knight, Bill Ulrich, Jim Hildreth and Lary Wzorek. Boyer is the attorney for Walter Scott who bought a major share in the team. Gorman is the Royals' GM.
April 16, 1991: The day before the Royals open, Richard Sovereign of Sovereign Painting adds a coat of blue to the patio concession stand.
May 17, 1993: Workmen for JB Construction hurry to finish the new parking lots by Rosenblatt along 13th Street.
April 16, 1993: Warren Buffett throws out first pitch for the Royals home opener at Rosenblatt Stadium.
March 17, 1992: James Huettner welds handicap ramps.
March 13, 1992: The south side of Rosenblatt Stadium.
April 16, 1992: The Goodrich family, from left, Nate, Barbara, Ben, Chris and Paul enjoy a Royals game.
May 25, 1993: Rance Ristau, 3, looks like he had a good time finishing off his cotton candy during an Omaha Royals afternoon game at Rosenblatt Stadium. But Rance, son of Dan and Cynthia Ristau, saw the Royals drop an 8-5 decision to Nashville.
April 3, 1993: Scott Knight puts down new cinders in left field in front of new scoreboard.
Aug. 2, 1994: Aerial view of Rosenblatt Stadium from a helicopter.
May 25, 1994: Grounds crew removes a tarp after a rain delay.
April 29, 1995: Warren Buffett throws out the first pitch.
April 4, 1996: Warren Buffett throws out another first pitch.
May 4, 1996: Warren Buffett greets fans at an Omaha Royals game.
Aug. 30, 1998: The Omaha Royals unveil a new nickname for the team, the Golden Spikes, which is worn by mascot Casey.
June 9, 1998: Omaha's Mendy Lopez and Calgary's Lou Frazier watch the ball sail by on Frazier's successful steal of second base.
June 10, 1998: Royals shortstop Felix Martinez, who was sent down from Kansas City in the aftermath of brawl with Anaheim, sits on the bench.
1998: Omaha Royals infielder Scott Leius plays at Rosenblatt with his son Michael, 2.
1998: Warren Buffett prepares to throw out the first pitch.
June 16, 1998: Royals right fielder Chris Hatcher is greeted at the dugout after hitting a grand slam.
May 7, 1998: Jermaine Dye, Omaha Royals.
1998: Albuquerque's David Steed is out at second base by Omaha's Steve Sisco.
Aug. 30, 1998: Mayor Hal Daub swings a mock sledge hammer at a golden spike that is held by the Omaha Royals' mascot, Casey, launching the teams new name, the Golden Spikes. The Lincoln Sport Parachute Club jumped into the stadium carrying a banner with the new name on it.
1999: Casey sports the new Golden Spikes uniform.
1999: Omaha Spikes' Sal Fasano, right, is congratulated by Ron Johnson after hitting a home run.
1999: Omaha manager Ron Johnson dines on food at home plate of Rosenblatt Stadium.
1999: Front left, Bart Thomsen, and Rick English, back left, Mike Bischof, Kent Therkelsen, Lance Beasley pose for a photo.
Sept. 6, 1999: Omaha Golden Spikes manager Ron Johnson wears a Nebraska football helmet while coaching third base.
Sept. 6, 1999: Golden Spikes pitcher Scott Mullen delivers.
1999: Manager Ron Johnson, front, talks about practice routine to players at Golden Spikes media day at Rosenblatt Stadium.
The 1999 Omaha Golden Spikes. Top to bottom, left to right, Carlos Mendez, Henry Mercedes, Alvin Morman, Jimmie Byington, Jed Hansen, Mark Quinn, Ray Holbert, Dario Veras, Mendy Lopez.
1999: Omaha's Jimmie Byington turns a double play on Albuquerque.
1999: The Omaha Golden Spikes work out at Rosenblatt Stadium. Left, Mendy Lopez, and right, Henry Mercedes.
1999: Warren Buffett and Ernie Banks kid around before throwing out the first pitch at the Golden Spikes baseball game.
2000: Omaha Golden Spikes play a doubleheader with Memphis.
2000: Omaha third baseman Kevin Orie.
2000: Catcher Hector Ortiz with pitcher Jeff Austin.
June 23, 2000: Chris Costello and the Rosenblatt grounds crew hustled in with the tarp as steady rains delayed the game.
Aug. 16, 2001: Betsy Olson, left, watches as her golden retriever Zach sniffs out Ranger, Amber Green's boxer during the Golden Spikes game at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Aug. 16, 2001: After escaping the kennel and heading to the park, Brandi, the schnoodle in the jail-break costume, waits in the concession line with Shelli Willcoxon, left, and Shawn Willcoxon, center, during the Golden Spikes game.
Sept. 3, 2001: Golden Spikes pitcher Brett Larson delivers a pitch.
Aug. 3, 2001: Nathanael Osborn, 4, left, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, attempts to take his sleeping bag back from his siblings, John Bedford, 9, and Jenny Osborn, 12 during the first Golden Spikes Scout Sleepover at Rosenblatt Stadium. Bedford and other scouts were allowed to bring their families to the event. More than 500 people took over the infield with sleeping bags, free-standing tents, games and munchies. Registration also included tickets to the Spikes game, the fireworks show, a commemorative patch and breakfast.
Aug 3, 2001: Over a thousand scouts and their families camped out over night in the outfield.
July 18, 2001: Gregg Zaun, right, stands with Jed Hansen.
July 3, 2001: Rebekah Kuhfal, 7, of Neligh, Neb., turns her baseball ticket over to Chalee George of Omaha as her father David Kuhfal, right, and sister Christy, 9, wait their turn outside Rosenblatt Stadium.
May 6, 2002: Omaha Royals baseball mascot Casey was big crowd pleaser with area school kids.
Aug. 22, 2002: Sam the dachshund, 4, sticks his tongue out at the photographer at the Omaha Royals game. Sam's owner, Emily Swanger of Council Bluffs, brought both of her dogs to the game. The promotion was run with the Nebraska Humane Society.
Aug. 22, 2002: Pearl Jessie Welling, 108, gets the ball used for the first pitch.
April 3, 2002: The Omaha Royals practice before the season opener.
Aug. 15, 2002: Stan Bartak rushes to the other side of the stands in his 13th year of service for the Omaha Royals.
July 4, 2003: Omaha Royals first baseman Jed Hansen beats the throw home.
Aug. 2, 2003: Matt Minker, president of a Wilmington, Del., group that bought controlling interest of the Omaha Royals from Union Pacific.
April 11, 2003: Warren Buffett and Chicago Cubs' Hall of Famer Ernie Banks sign autographs and talk with players.
April 8, 2004: Omaha Royals pitcher Zack Greinke warms up at practice.
April 8, 2004: Zack Greinke throws at practice.
April 8, 2004: Omaha pitcher Zack Greinke, left, talks with instructor Mike Mason.
Aug. 1, 2004: Manager Mike Jirschele, left, congratulates Aaron Guiel as he rounds third on a three-run homer.
Aug. 1, 2004: Noah Briley, 3, of Yutan, proves it's too hot for a shirt but not too hot for fun.
April 25, 2004: Omaha's Calvin Pickering takes a throw at first.
May 16, 2004: Omaha's Byron Gettis narrowly escapes the tag from Fresno's Craig Kuzmic as he slides safely into home.
July 3, 2005: Chris Truby, right, rounds third with a handshake from coach Mike Jirschele after hitting a home run.
July 18, 2005: Omaha Royals Manager Mike Jirschele adjusts his cap.
July 18, 2005: Omaha reliever Shawn Sonnier throws against Round Rock.
April 15, 2005: Omaha's Henry Gentle, 10, attempts to catch a rubber chicken as one of the promotions for the Royals.
July 15, 2007: Pitcher Luke Hochevar, Kansas City's No. 1 draft pick in 2006, winds up.
May 25, 2007: Omaha first baseman Craig Brazell warms up before the game.
May 25, 2007: Mikey Mammoser, 5, peeks through a display in the concourse.
May 8, 2007: Omaha pitchers, from left, Roberto Giron, Kenny Ray and Thad Markray keep an eye on the action.
May 8, 2007: Omaha's Justin Huber is greeted at home by Angel Boerroa, center, and Fernando Cortez, right, after a three-run homer.
May 13, 2008: A blow-up version of Casey, the Royals mascot, stands in front of Rosenblatt Stadium.
May 13, 2008: A small but vociferous crowd cheers on the Royals.
May 13, 2008: Royals paraphernalia sits in an empty seat.
May 25, 2009: Omaha Royals outfielder Cory Aldridge laughs with teammates.
July 3, 2009: Alex Gordon prepares to bat.
July 3, 2009: Matt Campbell of Harlan, Iowa, dances with friends after rain stopped the Omaha Royals' game against the New Orleans Zephyrs.
July 3, 2009: Melissa Collier of Omaha takes a picture of the fireworks display at Rosenblatt Stadium.
July 3, 2009: Ron Schulz and his daughter Samantha, 11, enjoy the fireworks.
May 11, 2009: Lenny DiNardo, a left-handed pitcher for the Omaha Royals, strums on his guitar before a game.
May 11, 2009: Lenny DiNardo strums on his guitar.
Aug. 12, 2009: The Royals held a groundbreaking at the site of their new stadium in Sarpy County.
April 7, 2010: Royals pitcher Bruce Chen tries to catch some small hail in his mouth.
May 4, 2010: Alex Gordon dives for a foul ball.
July 3, 2010: RJ Mason, 8, of Papillion, watches the Omaha Royals take on the Iowa Cubs before the Omaha World-Herald fireworks show.
Sept. 2010: Omaha's Mike Moustakas, center, celebrates his two-run home run. Also shown are Moustakas's teammates Jarrod Dyson, left, and Scott Thorman.
July 27, 2010: Progress is being made on the new Royals stadium in Sarpy County.
Sept. 2, 2010: Preethi Dsouza, 10, of Omaha, holds a miniature stadium seat before the Omaha Royals play the Round Rock Express on the final night of Royals Baseball at Rosenblatt Stadium. The promotion is a replica of the seats at Omaha Municipal Stadium when it opened in 1948.
April 6, 2011: Allie Vance, 8, takes a picture of the twin sister Madie Vance, both of Omaha, in front of the Werner Park Scoreboard. The Omaha Storm Chasers invited fans to come out and have a look at the new ball park.
June 16, 2011: Paige Jones, of Springfield, digs near first base during a Diamond Dig after the game.
Aug. 31, 2011: Players, coaches and team employees party in the club house after the Storm Chasers learned that they clinched their division.
Aug. 31, 2011: Chris Tysdal, of Omaha, catches a fly ball.
Sept. 13, 2011: Bob Vlock, of Omaha, and Barry Bernet, La Vista, watch the game from their front-row seats. The two fans had only missed a handful of games.
Sept. 12, 2011: The three Omaha Storm Chasers outfielders, David Lough, left, Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain.
April 16, 2011: The crowd streams into the new park after the ribbon cutting.
April 21, 2011: Evan Heitman, of Woodbine, Iowa, gets to throw out a first pitch on his sixth birthday.
March 21, 2011: The "lonely seat" at Werner Park.
Sept. 16, 2011: The Sacramento River Cats and the Omaha Storm Chasers stand on the base line during the opening ceremony in Game 3 of the PCL Championship series at Raley Field in West Sacramento, Calif.
Sept. 10, 2011: The Storm Chasers react after defeating Round Rock in the 10th inning.
April 5, 2012: Omaha's Cody Clark is able to hold on in a collision at home plate with Albuquerque's Josh Fields.
Aug. 7, 2012: Papillion "super fan" Jan Huff uses his Sunny Delight jugs as binoculars.
June 19, 2012: Alliance Baseball CEO Gary Green, the new owner of the Omaha Storm Chasers, speaks at a press conference.
April 5, 2012: Omaha's Kevin Kouzmanoff warms up his arm before facing Albuquerque.
April 5, 2012: Sauce packets raced against one another with mild winning.
July 2, 2013: Larry Carter, left, the Storm Chasers' pitching coach, Mike Jirschele, manager, and catcher Max Ramirez watch as the Storm Chasers play New Orleans.
July 2, 2013: Mike Jirschele, the Omaha manager, posts the starting lineup on the clubhouse wall.
Sept. 14, 2013: The Omaha Storm Chasers celebrate after defeating the Salt Lake Bees.
Sept. 14, 2014: The Omaha locker room erupts in celebration after defeating Reno 4-0 to win the Pacific Coast League championship at Werner Park.
Sept. 14, 2014: The team swarms pitcher Aaron Brooks after the final out as the Omaha Storm Chasers beat Reno 4-0 to win the Pacific Coast League championship at Werner Park.
July 15, 2015: The International League toes the first base line during the National Anthem prior to the Triple-A All-Star game against the Pacific Coast League at Werner Park.
July 14, 2015: Omaha's Cheslor Cuthbert, center, is flanked by his Pacific Coast League All-Star teammates.
Aug. 4, 2015: Casey, the Omaha Storm Chasers mascot, pets Kehotay as he his held by Ron Henry. Kehotay was Henry's guide dog, but recently lost his his vision.
Aug. 23, 2015: Alex Gordon signs autographs.
April 5, 2016: Chasers pitcher Brian Duensing, a former Millard South star, throws during a workout in preparation for the 2016 season.
June 23, 2016: Omaha's Miguel Almonte started the game against New Orleans.
Aug. 10, 2017: President and GM of the Omaha Storm Chasers Martie Cordaro speaks during an announcement ceremony celebrating the team's 50th anniversary.
Aug. 10, 2017: President and General Manager Martie Cordaro speaks during an announcement ceremony.
April 4, 2017: Kevin McCarthy plays catch in the dugout during media day.
May 21, 2017: Reno's Jeremy Hazelbaker retrieves an errant balloon hat.