Sportsmanship is something all athletes have to learn, but it can be difficult to actually put it into action when the stakes are high. Minnesota high school pitcher Ty Koehn of the Mounds View Mustangs rose to the occasion, however, when leading his team to victory at the sectional championship last week.
After Koehn struck out the final batter, sending his team to state, he did not immediately begin to celebrate. Koehn happened to be playing opposite his childhood friend, Jack Kocon of Totino-Grace High School, and when the game ended, he took the opportunity to give his opponent a hug. Check out the sweet moment, which was captured on video and posted to Twitter by Jim Moberg:
A little different angle of the at bat… pic.twitter.com/d9G4MWGhqa
— Jim Moberg (@b757fo_jim) June 11, 2018
People were super-impressed by Koehn’s compassionate gesture. Koehn said his decision to hug his friend in that moment was something that he did on “instinct,” knowing how important the game was to both of them. Koehn and Kocon were on the same little league team. Although they went to separate schools, they kept in touch and have remained good friends.
“I knew the game was going to keep going or it was going to end right there,” Koehn explained to Bring Me the News Network. “I knew I had to say something. Our friendship is more important than just the silly outcome of a game. I had to make sure he knew that before we celebrated.”
What a mature and caring response!
For Koehn’s coach Mark Downey, Koehn’s display of sportsmanship was not unusual.
“Ty’s actions the other night do not surprise me and are reflective of what I might expect from any one of the players on the team,” Downey told Bring Me the News. “All really great kids, just a joy to be around on a daily basis.”
On June 14, Koehn and his team will face off against the No. 2 seed Stillwater in the state’s Class 4A quarterfinals. We’re guessing that Kocon will return the favor and be rooting for his friend’s team to go all the way.