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Video: Compassion shown by Mounds View high school pitcher is sportsmanship at its very best

The first thing he did when he clinched a state berth? He went to hug his beaten friend.

When is the last time you saw an athlete, at any level, clinch a championship and instead of celebrating immediately goes to show respect for the opposing team?

It happened Wednesday night in a Minnesota high school baseball game, the section championship game between top seed Totino-Grace and Mounds View.

After striking out Jack Kocon for the final out to send Mounds View to State, pitcher Ty Koehn made a beeline for the beaten batter and embraced him, all while his teammates rushed the field, celebrating wildly.

But there's a story behind this act of tremendous sportsmanship, the pair are old friends and have known each other since childhood.

"We are very close friends," Koehn told BMTN. "I knew him from all the way back when we were 13. We were on the same little league team. It was tough when we went to separate schools but we kept in touch."

"I knew the game was going to keep going or it was going to end right there," Koehn added. "I knew I had to say something. Our friendship is more important than just the silly outcome of a game. I had to make sure he knew that before we celebrated."

"It was more instinct, it just felt right." 

The moment was caught on camera by John Hakes, who kindly sent the footage to BMTN and noted that a lot of the Mounds View and Totino-Grace players know each other from the Shoreview Area Youth Baseball league. 

Koehn is a star player for the Mustangs, and the compassion he showed is exactly what Mounds View coach Mark Downey expected of him.

"Ty's actions the other night do not surprise me and are reflective of what I might expect from any one of the players on the team," Downey said in an email to BMTN. "All really great kids, just a joy to be around on a daily basis."

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Koehn is 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA as a pitcher and is hitting a rather robust .479 with a .560 on-base percentage at the plate. 

Totino-Grace, the top seed, had defeated Mounds View 3-2 in 13 innings in the section semifinals on June 1.

After beating Irondale to stay alive, Mounds View met with Totino again on Wednesday, needing to beat them twice to earn a fifth straight trip to State.

They won the first easily 17-10, and then again 4-0 to advance. 

Kocon was the hero in the 13-inning game mentioned above, coming through with the walk-off RBI single that gave Totino-Grace their win over Mounds View in the semifinals.

But it wasn't to be a repeat for the high schooler, as he fell to his friend as Mounds View secured their return to State.

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