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Brian Fletcher on facing one of his idols

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Royals prospect Brian Fletcher had a chance to face Tommy Hanson in the PCL playoffs, which was a thrill for him since he is from Atlanta and was a Braves fan.

Brian Fletcher in action
Brian Fletcher in action
Minda Haas

Here's a fun story I heard during the minor league playoffs that I didn't get to pass along.

Omaha outfielder Brian Fletcher hit a game-winning walk-off home run in the 9th inning of Game 2 of the Pacific Coast League Championship Series against the Salt Lake Bees which gave Omaha a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Series. They went on to win the Series two games later.

Certainly, the walk-off home run will be the highlight the 24-year-old Fletcher thinks about first when someone mentions that game, but there was another highlight, too - this one was personal.

Tommy Hanson was the starting pitcher for Salt Lake that night. He has won 49 games at the big league level - mostly for Atlanta, where Fletcher is from. Fletcher faced him three times that night - singling in the second inning, striking out on three pitches in the fifth and drawing a walk in the seventh. After the game, he spoke about why it was so much fun facing Hanson.

"I've grown up watching Hanson," said Fletcher, who is only three years younger. "I've seen him on TV and I was thinking, ‘This guy is pretty good.' It was awesome to face him - being somewhat of a Braves fan. But the guy can locate. He can pitch. He knows what he's doing out there, so it's always fun to have a challenge like that out there."