Hug between Little League batter and pitcher is inspiring display of sportsmanship
It's a video highlight that has likely brought a little tear to the eye of millions who have seen it.
Oklahoma Little Leaguer Isiah Jarvis walking from first base to hug opposing pitcher Kaidon Shelton of East Texas, after Shelton hit him in the head with a pitch and had become visibly upset with his mistake.
To Mike Mendes of Toms River, the gesture came as no surprise at all.
Mendes is the manager of Toms River East Little League, competing in the regional semifinals Wednesday night in Connecticut.
That hug, he said, is the kind of sportsmanship, empathy and friendship he sees all the time coaching 12-year-olds at some of the highest levels of competition.
"We're playing Connecticut tonight and they're in the room right next to us and just this morning the boys were playing PlayStation against each other," he said. "They're all out in the courtyard talking to each other making friends with each other. So when they're out on the field, they're not enemies, they're newfound friends and they care about each other."
A win Wednesday and another Friday can send Toms River East to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
A bigger opportunity, for his players though, may be the chance to do something like Isaiah Jarvis did. To show the world, at a time when the knuckleheaded parents at youth sports often get so much attention, that if they just sit back and watch, it's often the kids who are the ones putting on the clinic for us.
Editor's Update: Toms River East won their game Wednesday night and advance to the regional finals.