Whoever said there's no crying in baseball has never taken a 99-MPH fastball to the noggin or laughed so hard at a bullpen catcher dancing to "Single Ladies" that tears inadvertently fall from their eyes.
Crying, hugging and emotions are all most definitely allowed on the baseball field. On one Minnesota high school diamond, that was especially apparent.
Normally, when a pitcher strikes out an opposing hitter to win a game (especially a playoff game) everyone expects him to celebrate with his team. Mounds View High School pitcher Ty Koehn had some very different plans, and the result was a heart-warming moment.
Pitcher Hugs Batter After Striking Him Out
— Jim Moberg ?? (@b757fo_jim) June 11, 2018
Mounds View High School was taking on Totino-Grace High School in a very important game. The winner would advance to the Minnesota state championship. The loser, well, goes home.
With one out left in the game, Jack Kocon stepped to the plate for Totino-Grace. He was facing a friend he grew up and played on the same little league team with in Mounds View pitcher Ty Koehn. The left-handed pitcher struck out out Kocon looking to end the game and end his season. Woohoo. Dog-pile time, right?
Koehn pushed right past his catcher and ditched the Mustangs' celebration on the mound to give his longtime childhood friend a big ole hug at home plate.
"I was really down on myself. I felt like I let my team down," Kocon told Minneapolis' KARE 11. "That was huge for me because I needed someone."
"I knew I had to say something," Koehn told Minnesota's Bring Me The News. "Our friendship is more important than just the silly outcome of a game. I had to make sure he knew that before we celebrated."
Wow, someone raised these kids right.
In an age where bat flips are all the rage and pitchers even shoot the bird to batters after sitting them down, the fact that two kids could put aside the game for a moment of sportsmanship is incredible.
Mounds View went on to win back-to-back Class 3A Minnesota State High School League Baseball Tournaments, taking down Eden Prairie at Target Field, home of the MLB's Minnesota Twins.
But the highlight of the season by far was the one shared by Ty Koehn and Jack Kocon.
This post was originally published on September 18, 2020 but sportsmanship moments like this deserve to be seen forever.
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