Mansfield, Texas, sits just south of Arlington, which sits right in between Dallas and Fort Worth. It also sits 787 miles southwest of Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies and location of where two of the town’s favorite sons did battle on Wednesday afternoon.
A subset of the Colorado Rockies and New York Mets matchup on Wednesday included a face-to-face meeting between New York pitcher Noah Syndergaard and Colorado outfielder Sam Hilliard. Both hailing from Mansfield and both drawing the spotlight in the rubber game of the three-game series.
Syndergaard, the 27-year-old All-Star New York pitcher, went to Mansfield’s Legacy High School. Hilliard, the 25-year-old Colorado rookie outfielder, went to Mansfield High School. Hilliard said they didn’t face each other in high school but they certainly saw each other three times during the course of Colorado’s 7-4 loss.
"“I wasn’t on varsity yet,” Hilliard smiled when I asked him about potentially facing Syndergaard in high school. “He was a senior and I was a sophomore. I knew who he was and I’m pretty sure he knows me. We’ve worked out together. We’ve done yoga together. It’s pretty cool getting to play against him.”"
More from Colorado Rockies News
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: 3 things we appreciated from Tuesday in San Francisco
- What Bill Schmidt’s comments mean for the Colorado Rockies in 2023
Both of the early rounds of the Mansfield matchup went to Hilliard. Coming into the game with two homers in his first 41 Major League at-bats, Hilliard took a 1-2 pitch from the man nicknamed “Thor” 447 feet into the second deck of the right-center seats to tie the game at 1-1 in the second.
Two innings later, Hilliard went deep again, this time going the opposite way on a 3-2 pitch and giving Colorado a 2-1 edge with a 385-foot shot.
Checking the scorecard, that’s two homers in two at-bats. Edge to the rookie and the Mansfield Tigers. It also allowed Hilliard to join Trevor Story, Jeff Baker, Aaron Miles, Ben Petrick and Derrick Gibson as the only Rockies to record a multi-home run game within their first 20 career games.
Round 3 in the sixth inning? Give that one to Syndergaard as Hilliard flew out deep into the right-center gap on a 1-2 pitch.
Of course, it wasn’t just Hilliard that made some noise on Wednesday. Some of the other highlights that happened before the ninth-inning meltdown?
Story flashed his glove several times as he continued to show why he should be one of the leaders in the race for the National League Gold Glove.
Yency Almonte came out of the bullpen to escape a bases-loaded sixth-inning jam with a popout and groundout.
Garrett Hampson stealing second and third in the sixth inning to set up Raimel Tapia‘s pinch-hit RBI single. It was part of four stolen bases in the frame, marking the fourth time in franchise history they have stolen four bases in a single inning (last happened on April 21, 2012 at Milwaukee).
What happened in the ninth? You can read about that here if you’re a Rockies fan wanting to ruin your day. However, those fine folks in Mansfield are probably having a pretty good day, no matter the outcome of the game. After all, one of the local boys was going to come out on top either way. This time, it was Hilliard.