What baseball is all about: Photos show little league player's r - FOX Carolina 21

What baseball is all about: Photos show little league player's range of emotions in big game's final moments

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Ethan Hynicka hugs Coach Dawsey of the opposing team (Source: Northwood Little League) Ethan Hynicka hugs Coach Dawsey of the opposing team (Source: Northwood Little League)
TAYLORS, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A tale of simultaneous heartbreak and joy on a little league baseball field is touching hearts across the Upstate.

Northwood Little League posted a series of photos chronicling short stop Ethan Hynicka’s final moments of the season.

Click here to see the photos.

Like any good baseball suspense story, it unfolded in the bottom of the ninth in a tied ball game with a state title on the line.

Ethan’s team would not go on to win, but his character and love for his fellow players certainly did.

Northwood’s description of his actions is sure to put a smile on your face:

If you're a Northwood fan, you will hear lots of stories today of comebacks, walkoffs, and celebrations befitting the gravity of last night's semifinal games. In fact, later today, you'll see some pictures of those very things. Before that however, it's worth recognizing one moment from the end of the night.

In the first picture you see Ethan Hynicka, one of the better catchers and all-around ball players Northwood has seen in recent years, not to mention just a stellar kid. He's the type of catcher who will walk out to the mound at a moment his pitcher is struggling and seem to say just the right thing. You'll see Ethan after he's already pitched his heart out and moved to shortstop as the game sits in the bottom half of the last inning. His Nationals are tied 3-3 against the Marlins in a game that will decide who plays the Orioles for the 2018 Majors title. It was a long road to get to this point, and Hynicka had been a vital part of it for the Nationals all season long. No matter how tense things were in last moment, he was still ready to fight.

By the time we reach the second picture, the worst has already happened. Mac Dawsey has hit a walkoff to end the game, and on the left of the photo, Dawsey's teammates are surrounding him, lifting him in the air, and celebrating their victory. Meanwhile, Hynicka--no doubt heartbroken to see the game and his season end--has done what would seem almost impossible in that moment. He has walked to the third base line to put his glove and his hat down. No matter how bad it hurts, he's gone there congratulate the team that just put an end to his last regular season at Northwood.

As Hynicka is putting down his hat and glove, Mac Dawsey's father has run from the first base coach's box to grab his son and celebrate a moment they will never forget. As he does so, Coach Dawsey looks up to see Hynicka behind the celebration. The longtime coach breaks away from the screaming. He knows there will be time for celebration, and there is still another game to fight before his team will be champions.

It's in this moment--before the crowd has even stopped screaming--that Hynicka's opposing coach opens his arms and pulls Hynicka in close. Dawsey knows how hard Hynicka played. He knows how much Hynicka cared. And he knows how much it hurts. There's not much one can say in a moment like that, and so a tight hug will have to do.

That's the thing about this game and about Northwood. Kids like Dawsey, Hynicka, and everyone else who celebrated or had their hearts broken last night. They've grown up together at Northwood. They have been teammates and opponents. They have caught for each other. They have pitched to each other. They are friends on and off the field. It just so happens that the game they love is a game that means a few get to celebrate at the end of the year, and the rest have to put their hat and glove down on the base line knowing another season is done.

Last night, Ethan Hynicka was one of those kids, one who fought through heartbreak to congratulate the ones who broke his heart. When we--as we no doubt will--see Hynicka on a ball field in the future, we'd all do well to remember the example he set in defeat and the example Coach Dawsey set in victory.

That is what Northwood is all about.

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