This is a story about a hitter, a fielder and a college graduate with a video camera who captured a play that has been seen internationally on ESPN and the Internet.
The setting was last Wednesday's District 13 Little League championship game between rivals Tri-Village Little League National and Colonie Little League a game ultimately won by TVLL 8-6 in seven innings.
TVLL had taken a 2-0 lead on Conor Costello's two-run home run in the second inning and was looking for more. The Bethlehem-based team had two runners on base with two outs when Mike Graves strode to the plate. Graves made good contact with the ball and drove the ball to the deepest part of the West Albany Little League field.
It sounded good and had a good feeling to it, so I thought it was gone," said Graves.
Colonie center fielder Jordan Johnson started running back to the fence, watching the ball all the way. As he neared the fence, Johnson leapt and leaned his body backwards just as the ball was descending.
"I didn't know where the fence was," said Johnson. "I just knew it was going to be a tough catch."
Johnson timed his leap perfectly. The ball hit his glove just as his body hit the fence. Though his momentum caused Johnson to lean halfway over the fence, he never let go of the ball " robbing Graves of a home run.
"I reached first base, I looked up and saw Jordan Johnson make the catch," said Graves. "If there was one person on that team, it was Jordan Johnson who was going to make a great catch."
"I've been involved in Little League for 18 years, and it was the most tremendous catch I've ever seen," said Colonie manager Mark Rowland.
As soon as he collected the ball, Johnson started running toward Colonie's dugout, receiving congratulatory high fives from several teammates as he jogged toward the infield. But as he neared second base, he got another high five " from Graves.