When Rhys Hoskins signed with the Phillies as a fifth-round draft pick from Sacramento State University in the summer of 2014, memories of the 2007-2011 team championship were still fresh in their minds.
Dramatic home runs.
Hoskins heard about it all.
“Watching the pictures, hearing the stories, being around the guys out there, that kind of thing,” he said.
It took a while, but Hoskins finally tested all of the above on Friday afternoon.
Like the old Phillies of Jimmy, Chase, Ryan, Cole, Chooch and Big Chuck, he felt the euphoria of a big win in October.
He heard the noise and felt the football field vibrate.
He’s seen his friend, Aaron Nola, a producer from the same draft, introduce the October gem.
And he felt the joy of hitting a massive home run after the season ended, just as the man who knocked out a ceremonial first pitch, a guy named Shane Victorino, once did.
Phillies are one win away from advancing to the National League Championship Series. They got there with a thrilling 9-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the NL Division Series at Citizens Bank Park.
They got there because Nola Continue his last brilliance.
They got there because Rhys Hoskins was frustrated – but not out.
He extended the ball at first base and that resulted in a 3-0 loss in Game 2 in Atlanta on Wednesday night.
Coming home to Game 3 on Friday, Hoskins was reminded of the error in his pre-game introductions. The boos were noticeable. And their voice rose after he was knocked out in the first half to go down to 1 for 19 in four games after the season.
In the third inning, Hoskins turned the boos into an explosion of joy from the bluffing crowd of 45,528. He hopped on a first-court fastball from Braves’ player Spencer Strider and sent it to the left field benches for Homer’s three-run to lift the Phillies 4-0.
Citizens Bank Park shook as Hoskins heard it happened again in its glory days.
“Oh my God, it was so loud,” he said after the match.
The crowd’s roar burned into Hoskins’ eardrums, but it took him a few rounds to realize how it permeated his home run, which was preceded by some very good hits from Brandon Marsh (four-pitch walk), Jan Segura (eight-pitch hit) and Bryson Stott (full double count). from RBI).
The Braves walked Kyle Schwarber on purpose to set up a potential double game and get to the Hoskins, who took that a little personally.
He said, “Of course.” “I’m human. I’m competitive. They obviously tell me something straight away even before I go into the box. So I’m ready for the competition. And I think when you light a little fire under someone they tend to focus and focus a little bit more and I didn’t miss.”
As the ball sailed out of the park at 107 mph, Hoskins raised his arms and fired his racquet hard into the ground. He shouted to the bunker and trotted around the bases as if he was in the air.
When he got past the home plate, he celebrated with JT Realmuto and then with Bryce Harper, who told him, “We’re not losing. We’re not losing.” Harper then stepped up and hit his way home to make the score 6-0.
Thankfully iPads are allowed in the bunker now because Hoskins didn’t remember Spike’s gigantic bat until Kyle Schwarber showed him a few rounds later.
“That’s what you did?!” Hoskins said skeptical.
Yes, that’s what I did.
“Fix the match,” Garrett Stubbs joked with Hoskins after the match.
They’re still out there digging bats,” Matt Ferling said.
Hoskins’ emotional reaction was a complete catharsis. 1 to 19. Failed play in the game 3. Boos during intros. Boos after the first half.
“I had a pretty good view of it,” said Realmuto, who was in Homer’s circle on the deck. “That was as excited as I’ve ever been on a baseball field. Watching his reaction, there’s definitely some pent-up frustration in that swing and that reaction. It was just a blast. That was a lot of fun.”
“It was a tough play that day. Fans let him hear it during the introductions, after his first strike of the day. As much as we try not to pay attention to these things, it’s impossible not to. He responded like we expect him to do. Big for us He won the ball game for us with that swing.
“She blew up the roof of our garden, figuratively. It was unbelievable. The stadium has gone unruly. That’s what he’s here for. He’s our guy who’s come up big in places like this and done it tonight.”
Hoskins calmed down by the time he appeared in the interview room after the match. There was no moaning about boos. He can take it. Earlier in the week, he talked about what it’s like to play in Philadelphia, how he’ll tell you how to play with their reaction, and how you have to have thick skin to hit what he called a “fair market.”
Nola, who himself felt the fans’ honest criticism once or twice, revealed the key to Hoskins’ ability to recover.
“He keeps pushing,” Nola said. “He never got his head stuck. I’ve been with him for a long time. I’ve never seen him hang his head, no matter the outcome. Or if he makes a mistake on first base, it doesn’t matter.”
“He’s always ahead, he always has that confidence that he’s going to be in the next play, and he’s going to get the next hit. It doesn’t really surprise me what he did tonight.”
Reflecting on his performance, Hoskins said, “It’s crazy how a bat swing can change things, for good or bad.”
This was definitely for good. Phillies are one win away from their first NLCS since glory days in 2010.
Everything came back on Friday. October win. Great display performance. Big run home. The wild crowd.
“The crowd was amazing,” Harper said. “Absolutely crazy. Electric. Nothing I could dream of. It was, ‘Whoa.’ I get goosebumps thinking about it because that was incredibly cool.”
“I hope it will be like that for another two weeks.”
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”
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