SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) - The Boston Red Sox took home the World Series trophy within four games this year. But Game 3 was a challenge for both the Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, extending into 18 innings and into the wee hours of the next morning. That game also saw an Upstate native take to the pitcher's mound and face down the Dodgers under the lights and in front of countless fans.
"I told myself I was going to trust the curveball and just let it rip,” said Heath Hembree, “I threw a curve ball and it was probably one of the most satisfying curveballs I've thrown in my career; to see the swing and miss."
It wasn’t an easy 11th inning for Hembree, a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. He came in Game 3 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
His first 2 batters were some of the Dodger's most dangerous hitters; Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig. Then he walked Austin Barnes, putting the potential winning run on 1st base.
"Focused in and got my mind ready to just execute and make pitches,” explained Hembree, “Do what I've been doing basically my whole life."
The Dodgers won the game after 18 innings, but Hembree and his team became champions Sunday. After 162 games and a month of extra baseball, Hembree says the grind was worth it.
"Just the atmosphere and running in with my brothers. Just celebrating and emotion we had,” described Hembree, “The love we felt for each other of accomplishing a goal that we were grinding every day to achieve.
The former Broome High School Centurion says his time in high school helped pave the way to this moment. The school set up a temporary display to acknowledge his accomplishments this week. Hembree hopes his accomplishments will help inspire others to chase their dreams.
"It took a lot of work. A lot of sacrifice but it's definitely obtainable,” said Hembree.