Astros outfielder Chas McCormick saved Game 5 of the World Series


Luke McNichol was sleeping soundly when his phone exploded with messages. He thought he knew what the notifications were about. McNichol, the baseball coach at Henderson High in West Chester, Pa., is one of the few local fans not supporting the Phillies in November. He thought the Phillies had come back to win Game 5 of the World Series.

What he didn’t know was that Chas McCormick — his former player and the reason he’s shooting for the Astros — fended off a rally in the ninth inning when he robbed JT Realmuto of extra bases. McCormick jumped up and banged against the Citizens Bank park wall to carry what could have been a double or more. The catch helped the Astros win Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead.

McCormick was lying on the ground, his back on the dirt of the warning track, his glove in the air in a baseball stadium he knows well. McCormick grew up as a die-hard Phillies fan. He played ball in high school about a 45 minute drive from the park.

“I wanted to stay there longer,” McCormick said Thursday night. “If it was the last to come out, I would have been lying there all night.”

But his high school coach didn’t see him live. McNichol woke up in the middle of the night to check the score. And it wasn’t until the next morning that he saw the highlights and fans talking about McCormick’s take. He showed his wife.

“I’ve seen him do some great takes, but this take has to be considered the best I’ve ever seen him do because of the stage he was on when he did it and the circumstances that led him to do it. surround and hometown,” McNichol said. “I can’t imagine how he felt. It brings tears to your eyes to know that a kid who grew up just outside of Philadelphia is going and… like I said, it was a robbery at the bank.

McNichol has coached Henderson since 1988, training not only McCormick but his twin, Jason, and older brothers Ryan and Sean. McNichol believes having brothers helped McCormick overcome adversity as a player.

McCormick played at Henderson from 2010 to 2013 and immediately contributed to the varsity team as a first baseman, pitcher and center fielder. McNichol remembers McCormick as a confident player and a good teammate. He remembers the pressure never reaching McCormick, especially when he faced older opponents or when he made mistakes.

“And that’s one of the things about that take last night,” McNichol said. “[Astros third baseman Alex] Bregman even said so: he pulled the sleeve out before that. And he comes out and his job now is to be the best defender he can be. And he went and did this take and it was just amazing.

The capture helped the Astros win a crucial game and win two games at Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies had not lost in the playoffs entering the series. Philadelphia won Game 3, McNichol was there to see it. McCormick booked three tickets for McNichol and two assistant coaches.

They sat in section 235, surrounded by fans dressed in Phillies gear. McNichol showed up in a hostile environment wearing his Astros gear. And when Astros fans started doing the “Chas Chomp” — mimicking the University of Florida chomp — McNichol joined in with the Houston television cameras shining on him.

If it were any other team, McNichol would be cheering on the Phillies. But other teams don’t have McCormick.

McNichol is especially proud of McCormick’s journey because of the unique path to get there. McCormick was a “Division I talent” according to McNichol, but his measurables kept him from getting bigger program offers. So he followed in the footsteps of his older brother Ryan and played at Millersville Division II before finally being taken in the 21st round of the 2017 draft and heading to the majors.

McNichol will not travel to Houston as the Astros look to win the World Series at home on Saturday. Still, he’ll back the hometown kid who made one of the biggest plays of the post-season.

“This [catch] didn’t surprise me at all,” McNichol said. “It’s hard to believe this is the same kid who was here and started in first grade through to senior year.”


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