Boston's Mookie Betts hits first home run — and high-school rival catches it

David Brown

Mookie Betts hit his first major league home run Wednesday night, and it was the lone bright spot for the Boston Red Sox in a 16-9 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Betts says he's no savior, but Red Sox fans might have to count on his progress to avoid feeling too despondent about how the season is going. In getting swept at Fenway Park — by the Cubs! — the Red Sox fell to 38-47. The reigning World Series champs are one more slip-up from being the last-place team in the American League East. So they need distractions.

OK, so how's this for a freaky coincidence:

The home run Betts hit into the Green Monster seats was caught by a former opponent of his, a fan named Chris Large, who pitched against Betts in 2010 during summer ball when they were in high school in Tennessee. Large threw a four-hitter, with Betts getting two of the hits. A year later, Betts became a fifth-round pick of the Red Sox. And Large wasn't even at the game to see Betts play. He had planned to be at Fenway before Betts recently got called up from the minors. Sta-raaaaange!

ESPN Boston has more details, and they're even freakier:

[O]ff to a 1-for-12 start at the plate and in search of his first hit at Fenway Park, Betts stepped up with A.J. Pierzynski on first in the fifth inning of Wednesday's game against Chicago Cubs reliever Carlos Villanueva.

It was then that Chris' sister Lindsey made a bold prediction.

"She said right before the at-bat, 'He's about to hit a home run,'" Chris said. "I said, 'What if I caught it?'"

Oh, come on! But it happened. As soon as it did, Large knew he had to get the ball to Betts, who exchanged it for autographed stuff after the pair reunited outside of Boston's clubhouse.

Betts said he'll probably give the ball to his mother.

"He said as soon as he found it he wanted to find a way to get it to me," Betts said. "I really appreciated that."

It's also Large's 22nd birthday Thursday. He'll never forget it.

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at and follow him on Twitter!

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