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Not so grown-up: Man ruins 10-year-old girl's fan moment by snatching baseball thrown at her during game

An adult stood over the girls and grabbed the ball as Nationals' Joey Meneses threw it into the stands toward little Avery Hilliard
Aery Hilliard (right) was denied her epic fan moment at Washington Capitals stadium when an unidentified man (left) stole her catch (@GinaHilliard33/Twitter)
Aery Hilliard (right) was denied her epic fan moment at Washington Capitals stadium when an unidentified man (left) stole her catch (@GinaHilliard33/Twitter)

WASHINGTON DC: At a Washington Nationals game on September 8, an unidentified adult wearing a Juan Soto jersey intercepted a ball that was thrown to a young girl named Avery Hilliard by the outfielder Joey Meneses.

Youth softball player Avery Hilliard, 10, arrived for the weeknight game with her glove in hand and was prepared to catch a ball. However, an adult stood over the children and grabbed the ball as Nationals player Joey Meneses threw it into the stands where Hilliard and her teammates were flailing their arms. The rude spectator turned away from the girls and went back to his seat where he shared a laugh with his girlfriend. 


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Avery's mother Gina Hilliard used the caption, "Grown man steals baseball from little girl," when she shared a video of the perplexing exchange on Twitter. Since then, it has had approximately 4.5 million views. Meneses tossed the ball clearly intended for the children as Gina was filming her daughter lined up in the front row of the stands. As Avery raised her softball glove, one teammate shouted, "Catch it, catch it!" with eagerness and just as the ball was about to drop in Avery's glove, an unidentified individual wearing a Soto jersey emerged from off frame in a split second.

In the video, an evidently shocked woman can be heard exclaiming, "What?" as Avery turned around in despair. The unknown person quickly turned and moved away from the young baseball fans, avoiding any eye contact. A team dad challenged the man as he went back to his seat, and the ball thief allegedly replied, "I bought a ticket to the game and have just as much right to the ball."

Speaking to Daily Mail, Gina said, "Out of nowhere the man stands up and takes the ball. He had no remorse and his girlfriend was just sitting there laughing." She is pleased that the Washington Nationals came out to her in an effort to make things right, despite the unfortunate incident that ruined her daughter's otherwise fantastic day. Although the team agreed to give Avery a present, she hopes that the entire squad gets something as well, considering the ball was meant for everyone.

Avery and her teammates enthusiastically stepped up to the baseball fence at the conclusion of the game to try to flag down a ball from Meneses. The baseball player is known to often throw warm-up balls into the stands for fans.