It was the bottom of the fourth inning, in the 10-and-under minors division semifinals Wednesday night, at the Flagler County Fairgrounds.
The game between the Tigers (coached by Rick Torres) and the Royals (coached by Jay Pigninelli) was tied, 2-2.
With two outs and a runner on first, the Royals batter hit a ground ball to the Tigers second baseman, Cole Ansorge, who attempted to tag the runner advancing to second. As he reached for the runner, he separated his hands, held the ball in his bare hand and tagged the runner with his empty glove.
The umpire, who was stationed behind home plate, moved out onto the diamond to make the call: Out!
Then Pigninelli came out of the dugout to explain what was clear to anyone who had a different angle from the ump.
After discussion, the umpire — unsure what had occurred — called Cole from the Tigers’ dugout. The ump put his arm on the shoulder of 8-year-old Cole and asked him to tell the truth.
As tears rolled down his cheeks, Cole looked up at the umpire and told him that he had the ball in his bare hand and tagged the runner with his empty glove.
Based on Cole’s honesty, the ump overturned his call, and the inning continued.
The Royals went on to score three runs and ultimately won the game by one.
When the game was over, Pigninelli had his players tell Cole that he should be proud of himself for telling the truth. Pigninelli, last in line during handshakes, presented Cole with the game ball for his sportsmanship.
Pete Celestino, commissioner of Flagler PAL baseball, said Cole’s play defined the true meaning of sportsmanship and fair play. It epitomized what youth sports should be all about.
“Throughout my years, I have had many sports heroes,” Celestino said. “Today, my new hero is Cole Ansorge. He showed courage and integrity under some very difficult circumstances.”
Nowadays, America’s pastime is often tarnished by steroids allegations or the $250 million deal. Integrity and fun often get overlooked. But this time, an 8-year-old second baseman shined the brightest.
Stand up and take a bow, Cole Ansorge.
You’ve made your parents, your team and your community proud.
That’s what baseball — and being a great person — is all about.
You can follow me on Twitter at @aobrien7.