Friday 24 May 2019

Watch: Baseball star gets huge ovation as he bats for first time since mum died

Stephen Piscotty was back playing for the Oakland Athletics two days after the death of his mother, who had motor neurone disease.

A baseball glove on the outfield
A baseball glove on the outfield

By Alistair Mason, Press Association

Sport doesn’t get much more emotional than this.

After taking just one day off following the death of his mother Gretchen, Oakland Athletics outfielder Stephen Piscotty went back to work, taking the field against the Houston Astros.

Gretchen Piscotty died on Sunday at the age of 55, a year after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Stephen took a day to be with his family, then returned to action to face Houston on Tuesday night on an emotional occasion in California.

As he stepped up to the plate, the Oakland crowd gave the hitter a warm welcome, with a rumble of applause growing to an ovation as Houston pitcher Lance McCullers Jr, recognising the importance of the moment, stepped off the mound.

McCullers told after the game: “I feel for him. I feel for his family. Everything I’ve heard, he’s an awesome guy. He’s a great player, and I just wanted him to have some time.

“I know this game in general can be emotional, and I can only imagine what he was going through today. So I wanted to give him some time to be able to come up and have the fans recognise him.

“I just wanted that moment to be his.”

Piscotty responded by getting a hit, with McCullers later saying: “If I have to give up one all year I’ll be OK with that one.”

He also bagged a nice catch in the outfield as the Athletics slipped to a 4-2 defeat.

But for Oakland manager Bob Melvin, it was all about Piscotty and that reception.

“That was great,” Melvin said. “Our fans know. They gave him a great reception, and I know it probably made him feel good. And to get a hit the first time up is what you’re hoping for.”

Piscotty’s father Michael also appeared at the game, addressing fans to thank them for their support.

Piscotty, a childhood Oakland fan, only moved to the Athletics in December, joining in a trade engineered in part to allow him to be closer to his mum.

Press Association

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