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Nationals fulfill promise to Virginia little league family after man snatches their ball at game

Washington Nationals outfielder Joey Meneses threw a baseball to some young fans during a game at Nats Park last week, but then an adult got in the way.

WASHINGTON — After a man snatched a ball from a group of young girls, the Washington Nationals made a promise to have a surprise for a softball player from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The team fulfilled that promise on Tuesday. 

The team tweeted out a picture of a signed baseball with a handwritten letter written by Nationals outfielder Joey Meneses. The letter, addressed to Avery, says "I'm sorry you didn't get the ball I threw to you. I wanted to make sure you got one. So I hope this signed game ball makes up for it!" said Meneses. "Hope to see you at a game soon! Your friend, Joey."

On September 1, the Nationals invited the Shenandoah Rec League Babe Ruth 10U All-Star Softball team to Nationals Park for Youth Champions Day 2022. The Washington Nationals took on the Oakland Athletics during a night game.

Just before the top of the ninth inning, team parent Regina Hilliard recorded on her phone as her 10-year-old daughter, Avery, gestured to Nationals outfielder Joey Meneses to throw her a baseball.

Hilliard’s video shows Meneses throwing the ball toward Avery. Avery is ready with her glove but, at the very last second, a man wearing a Nationals jersey steps in, blocks Avery and catches the ball instead.

One girl from Avery’s team can be overheard on video saying, “what?!"

Regina Hilliard later posted the video of what happened to her daughter on Twitter. The video went viral a few days later attracting more than two million views.

“[Nationals] can you get Joey Meneses to sign a baseball and send it to my daughter?” Hilliard’s tweet reads.

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Hilliard said the person who got in the way of her daughter showed no remorse.

“He said he bought a ticket and that he had just as much right to the ball,” she said.

Hilliard said her daughter was disappointed in the man’s actions. 

WUSA9 reached out to Hilliard upon seeing the National's tweet. She said Avery is beyond excited.

"We were sitting at dinner when I showed her the post from the Nats. She is beyond excited and very appreciative of Joey not only sending her a signed ball but a kind note with it," Hilliard said.  

RELATED: Nationals contact Virginia little league family after man snatches their ball at game

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