Bat crazy! Fans reluctantly give up souvenir at Phils game

AARON BRACY
Associated Press
Kathie Koller, left, and Jen Mehall pose for a photo with a bat during a baseball game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, Aug. 26, 2022 in Philadelphia. Things got sticky when Jen Mehall, a fan at a Philadelphia Phillies game caught Oneil Cruz’s bat and didn't want to give it back. Cruz's bat slipped out of his hands and went flying into the stands after the Pittsburgh Pirates’ rookie struck out Friday night. (AP Photo/Aaron Bracy)

PHILADELPHIA — Oneil Cruz’s bat slipped out of his hands and went flying into the stands after the Pittsburgh Pirates rookie struck out in the third inning Friday night against Philadelphia.

That's when things got sticky.

The lumber landed in Jen Mehall's lap behind the Phillies dugout. Mehall, a Pirates fan, was thrilled to get the souvenir — especially after it dinged her in the leg and lip. An inning later, though, a Pirates official came to request the bat back and offered another one in a trade.

Mehall and her friend, Kathie Koller, who were in town from Reading to celebrate Koller’s birthday, didn’t want to give up their rare keepsake.

“We wanted to keep it, but security said we couldn’t,” said Mehall, who is originally from western Pennsylvania.

Fans in the sections around the two women booed loudly.

Although they were disappointed, Mehall and Koller did have the good fortune of sitting in front of former Phillies infielder and team ambassador Mickey Morandini. He got the women a bat bearing the signature of Phillies star slugger Bryce Harper.

It was a nice gesture by Morandini, though the women seemed genuinely upset about not being able to hang onto the bat they caught.

FILE - Pittsburgh Pirates' Oneil Cruz looks on from the on deck circle during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on Aug 6, 2022, in Baltimore. Cruz recorded the hardest-hit ball since Major League Baseball began recording exit velocity on Wednesday, Aug. 24, lashing a single that came off the bat at 122.4 mph in a 14-2 loss to Atlanta. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams, File)