Minnesota Sportsman of the Year

The Minnesota high school baseball state tournament is reaching its conclusion, which will leave one team riding a wave of euphoria and a whole field of others broken hearted. The most recent instance of this came during a semi-final game between Arden Hills Mounds View High School and Fridley’s Totino-Grace.

In a close game down the stretch, Mounds View called upon pitcher Ty Koehn for the save. With two outs in the final inning, Koehn threw a beautiful fastball that caught the outside corner of the plate to end the game, sending his team to the championship. While the rest of his team stormed the field to celebrate, Koehn instead ran over to the batter he had dispatched and wrapped him up in a giant bear hug.

This is unusual behavior, to say the least. Members of opposing teams rarely console each other after games, but in a tightly contested game like a state semifinal doing so is almost unheard of. It happened in this case, however, and for a very good reason.

In talking to Koehn after the game, he revealed that the batter, Jack Kocon, is one of his childhood best friends. How fukn sweet, am I right? This guy rings up the final batter of the game to send his team to the championship and instead of celebrating he immediately runs over to comfort his buddy. You can watch a video of the event below.

This is what sports are all about, guys. A young athlete reveling in the thrill of victory supporting someone dealing with the agony of defeat. One of the things that can make sports so special is exactly this. When experiencing the extreme emotions that participating in sports can produce, an athlete’s true character is revealed. In the case of Ty Koehn it’s clear that his character is that of a true sportsman, and for that reason I will assert that he should be awarded the title of Minnesota Sportsman of the Year, an award that I just made up on the spot.  

Congrats, Ty, you deserve it.

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