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Astros Caravan unites Matijevic with Freeman, a fan who caught his first MLB home run ball

Astros Caravan unites fan with home run hitter
Posted at 10:43 PM, Jan 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-17 23:52:31-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The World Series Astros Caravan in Corpus Christi has come to an end. It was great seeing the Astros serving up some good food and taking orders at Whataburger by the Bay, their fourth stop of five for the day.

The Astro's first stop of the day was at London ISD, home of the UIL 3A baseball defending state champions. J.J. Matijevic and Korey Lee shared their advice and stories from their playing journey. Both played for the Astros AA affiliate, the Hooks, in 2021 and Matijevic made his Corpus Christi debut in 2019.

"This is awesome," J.J. Matijevic, Astros first baseman, said. "All of these kids you know they're so full of happiness seeing us and seeing them. This has been awesome, so the kid who caught my first home run, my first hit, he's on the state championship team, so that's awesome too."

If you do not remember who caught Matijevic's first MLB hit and home run ball, it was London state champion Raylan Freeman. A special moment for both Freeman and Matijevic after they worked out a deal to get the ball back to the Astros.

"I called him and I was like you got a tough bargain, but he got everything he wanted. It was great seeing him," Matijevic said. "We got a picture today. Got to meet him, so that was great."

The catch happened back on June 19 2022 when Houston hosted the White Sox. He recorded his first major league hit, a home run, against Chicago starter Michael Kopech, which landed in the Crawford Box seats at Minute Maid Park in a 4–3 Astros win.

"It was pretty cool. You know, back whenever it first happened I didn't get to meet him in person," Rylan Freeman, London junior first baseman and pitcher, said. "I never even really got to talk to the guy, but when he came here today I got to shake his hand, officially meet him and it was awesome. A great experience. It's just super cool to come down to Corpus Christi, especially where the Hooks are, to come down to their roots. Come to you know London, State Champions for us in baseball. The whole environment was just awesome to be around."