Kocon and Koehn grew incredibly close after they played on the same Little League team together at 13.
A Minnesota high school baseball game witnessed a rare moment of sportsmanship as the pitcher hugged and consoled his childhood friend on the opposing team after striking him out to clinch the game. While all his teammates celebrated the win, Ty Koehn's first instinct was to run to his friend, Jack Kocon, and console him. Koehn's pitch had won Mounds View High School team the game. "It just felt like the right thing to do," said Koehn, reported CBS Minnesota. The pair goes back a long way and had played on the same Little League team together at 13. The video has gone viral with many hailing the moment of sportsmanship.
There was a lot riding on the game as Jack Kocon faced Ty Koehn. Mounds View, a public high school in a Minneapolis suburb, was leading Totino-Grace, a Catholic high school at CHS Field in St. Paul, Minnesota. The winner would play for the Minnesota state championship for baseball. Kocon was facing Koehn, the opposition's star player and his long time friend, with the game on the line. Koehn struck out Kocon, before running towards him as his teammates gathered in a huggle and celebrated. He hugged his childhood friend for a good ten seconds and could be seen saying something to him.
A little different angle of the at bat... pic.twitter.com/d9G4MWGhqa— Jim Moberg (@b757fo_jim) June 11, 2018
Koehn was asked about the incident, and he said that he just wanted to show support for his friend. He also revealed what he had said to Kocon at that moment. "You had a great season, you're a great player and don't let this situation, don't let this outcome affect our friendship. And I told him I loved him and he's my brother and our friendship will always last longer than this silly game and its silly outcome," said Koehn. Mounds View baseball coach Mark Downey praised Koehn for the gesture. "He's a tremendous competitor, but as you saw on the video, he understands there is a bigger picture and friendship really matters. 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," said Downey, reported NPR. After the story went viral, Koehn's teammates are jokingly hugging him at practice every now and then. "His teammates are having fun with it. Today at practice I heard a lot of laughter with comments like, ‘Ty, I need a hug.’ Or, ‘There goes that player that didn’t have anyone to celebrate with,’” said Downey, reported The Washington Post.
Jack Kocon said it was a moment he would never forget. "I was just thinking in 20 years I'm not gonna remember the score of that game. But I'm gonna remember him coming up to me after that and just kind of being there for me when I needed someone." Koehn said it was tough when the pair went to separate schools after playing together and forging a strong friendship. However, they kept in touch with each other. Totino-Grace, the top seed, had beaten Mounds View several days earlier in the sections semifinals, with Kocon smashing a game-winning hit in the 13th inning. Koehn's team won a pair of games to play for the Minnesota state championship for baseball.