RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Connor Overton and Matt Winn both have childhood memories of visiting The Diamond.
“The Fourth of July games, for sure,” Overton recalls. “I also remember watching Brandon Crawford here.”
“We used to come here every Fourth of July, fireworks, come to see random games,” added Winn. “I love this place.”
Now, both Overton and Winn are getting the chance to hit the field at the Diamond as minor league players themselves. Overton, a right handed relief pitcher, played his high school baseball at Atlee, while the catcher Winn is a J.R. Tucker alumnus.
“Of course I always thought about wanting to [play professional baseball at The Diamond], but did I think it was ever going to happen? No, probably not,” said Winn. “I’m extremely lucky and it’s a very unique situation for me and Connor both to be in to be playing in our hometown.”
The two Giants’ prospects did not cross paths too much during high school, but would meet occasionally in college when Overton’s Old Dominion teams would face Winn and VMI. Now they’re not just teammates, but at times battery mates, as Winn caught for Overton for the first time as fellow Flying Squirrels earlier this season.
“In college we played each other all the time with ODU and VMI and we both have memories of playing travel ball and stuff here at The Diamond,” said Overton. “Being able to come and pitch to him in a AA game is pretty crazy.”
Playing at home certainly has its perks, as both Overton and Winn can always plan on being well-represented in the seats during home games.
“We’re getting 15-20 tickets a night, for sure,” Overton said. “I think last year for the Fourth of July game I had 40.”
“Typically I can count on my mom and dad being here basically everyday,” Winn commented. “Every now and then on the weekends I’ll have my friends come out. They’ll shoot me a text, as for some tickets.”
Winn has appeared in five games for the Squirrels so far this season and picked up his first hit of 2019 during Wednesday’s loss to Trenton. The catcher is in his fifth minor league season and he’s spent part of the past four in the River City. Overton is currently on the seven day injured list with shoulder soreness, but is 2-0 with a 3.06 ERA in nine appearances out of the bullpen. He’s struck out 17 batters while walking just three. The former Raider has been in the minor leagues since 2014 and spent parts of 2018 and 2019 with the Flying Squirrels.
While being in Richmond is nice for now, both players hope this is just the stop on a journey with a grand destination, one that sees them suiting up by the bay for the San Francisco Giants.
“It’s everything you worked for as a kid. This is the reason we’re doing it is to get to that level,” Overton said. “I can’t even imagine what that’s like.”
“There’s no words to describe it,” added Winn. “I’m working hard, I’ve been doing this my entire life and that’s been my goal basically my entire life, so it would mean everything.”
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