It was the final game of his senior year, the score was 3-2. Wiping sweat from his face, Jack Pilcher wound up and threw a fast ball, catching the batter off guard and winning the championship.
That would’ve been the movie version, anyway. But that’s not what happened.
In 2016, two Indianapolis high school teams, the Zionsville Eagles and Roncalli Rebels, were in a heated game for the championship title. The game dragged on into a ninth inning, and the score was tied 2-2.
But on the last play, the batter got a hit off Eagles’ pitcher Jack Pilcher. The third baseman and catcher collided when they both tried to catch the ball, and the batter managed to make it to first base.
As Rebels fans erupted all around them from the stands, the players ran around the field in near ecstasy, giving each other hugs and high fives. Later, as the players made their way to the dugout, the catcher saw something out of the corner of his eye, and he stopped short.
The opposing team’s pitcher Jack, was lying face-down on the mound, crushed. He felt like because of him, his team had just lost the championship title.
“You can’t feel much worse than I did. Especially being the pitcher at the end,” he later said.
Anyone who’s ever played a team sport knows what it’s like to lose. Despite his own happiness, Cody Smith’s heart went out to the player and he walked over to console him.
“I saw the heartbreak and the distress in all their players, but especially him, just lying almost lifelessly on the mound,” recalled Cody (pictured below).
It just really got to me and I wanted to go over there and tell him everything was going to be alright.
Another Rebels player, Michael McAvene, later joined him.
“The way that it ended that way, with that kind of sportsmanship, it just topped off the night, even though we lost,” Jack said.
Watch the whole scene play out in the clip below, and share this display of what sportsmanship is all about!