09/30/11 7:57 PM ET
Rangers fan wows crowd with catch, throw
17-year-old Williams fires back Rays' Shoppach's home run
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
A Rangers fan from Duncanville, Texas, the 17-year-old Williams was sitting on the right-field-side aisle of Greene's Hill -- that grassy area in center field -- for Friday's Game 1 of the American League Division Series at the Ballpark in Arlington. In the third inning, Tampa Bay hitter Kelly Shoppach hit a deep fly ball to center field off C.J. Wilson, and Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton quickly realized the ball wasn't staying in play.
So did Williams.
"I just saw it -- right off the bat, I knew it was out," Williams said. "I was just going on the grass, trying to catch it."
Williams leapt out of his seat, dashed to his right and gloved the ball on the run. No other fan was even close to making the play. Without pausing after he snagged it, Williams fired the ball back onto the field -- this was an opposing team home run, after all -- like an older version of Henry Rowengartner in the movie "Rookie of the Year."
Williams said that Shoppach's homer was the seventh Major League home run he's caught.
"I've been coming out here for about two years now," Williams said. "How I get a good read on the ball is I come out here for batting practice, and stand by the grass and get that good read on it."
Williams used to play baseball, but has other interests now.
"When the Stars won the Stanley Cup here in '99," Williams said, "it kind of got me out of baseball, into hockey."