Former Storm Chasers player becomes World Series hero

Brett Phillips played for Omaha in 2019
Posted at 10:18 AM, Oct 25, 2020
and last updated 2021-02-17 23:09:12-05

ARLINGTON, Tex. (KMTV) - The Tampa Bay Rays drew even with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series on Saturday night but not without help from a former Omaha Storm Chasers player.

With the Rays trailing 7-6 in Game 4 of the World Series, ex-Storm Chasers outfielder Brett Phillips came to the plate against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen in the bottom of the ninth inning with runners on first and second.

Phillips was facing a 1-2 count with two outs when he knocked a single to right-center field that was misplayed by Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor.

Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier easily scored the tying run from second base and Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena sprinted around the bases from first.

Arozarena was waved home by third base coach Rodney Linares. He stumbled between third base and home but after Dodgers catcher Will Smith misplayed a throw in, Arozarena had time to recover, get up and score the game-winning run in walk-off fashion.

The 8-7 win evened the series at two games apiece.

VIDEO: See Phillips' game-winning hit

“Once I saw Randy slip, I thought, ‘Oh shoot, at least we tied it up,’” Phillips told reporters after the game. “And then he missed the ball. I didn’t know what happened, and then he scored. And the next thing I know, I’m airplane-ing around the outfield and getting dog-piled.”

Phillips said the hit, his first since September 25, ranks as one of the highlights of his life.

"This is next to my wedding day, getting married, this is the most excited I've ever been," Phillips told reporters after the game. "I just feel so blessed."

VIDEO: Phillips reacts after his game-winning hit

Phillips, who was left off the Rays' roster for the American League Championship Series, played for the Storm Chasers during the 2019 season. He batted .240 in 105 games with 13 homeruns and 22 stolen bases.

The Rays acquired the 26-year-old Florida native from the Royals organization for minor league shortstop Lucius Fox at the end of August.

"It was just awesome. I'm so happy for him," Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters after Saturday's win. "We're all happy for him. From the day that we acquired him and he joined our club, he's just brought constant energy, a great teammate. Hasn't had the most opportunities, but when he's got in there, he's done some things -- none bigger than that hit right there, for sure. Local guy, too. That adds to it, I think. That helps."

Phillips and the Rays have a chance to take a 3-2 lead in the World Series with a win in Game 5 on Sunday night. First pitch is just after 7 p.m. central.

Tampa Bay Rays' Brett Phillips (14) celebrates after getting the game winning hit against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the baseball World Series Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Rays defeated the Dodgers 8-7 to tie the series 2-2 games. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)