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Correa welcomes back young HR-catching fan

Astros star brings smiles to faces of 12-year-old Carson Riley, family dealing with tragedy
MLB.com @alysonfooter

HOUSTON -- The Riley family made a return visit to Minute Maid Park on Friday, with an even better view of a certain Astros superstar than the last time.

You may remember 12-year-old Carson Riley. He's the kid who caught Carlos Correa's home run ball behind right field during Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees, robbing right fielder Aaron Judge of the chance to make a dramatic catch. The encounter instantly inserted Carson into Jeffrey Maier-type lore in a made-for-TV moment perfectly fit for the postseason.

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HOUSTON -- The Riley family made a return visit to Minute Maid Park on Friday, with an even better view of a certain Astros superstar than the last time.

You may remember 12-year-old Carson Riley. He's the kid who caught Carlos Correa's home run ball behind right field during Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees, robbing right fielder Aaron Judge of the chance to make a dramatic catch. The encounter instantly inserted Carson into Jeffrey Maier-type lore in a made-for-TV moment perfectly fit for the postseason.

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There is a sad background to this story. Four weeks before Carson's famous brush with the baseball, his family lost his older brother, Cade, to an all-terrain vehicle accident in their hometown of Liberty Hill. As The Houston Chronicle reported shortly after Carson's catch, that game was the first family outing since the tragedy.

On Friday, before Game 3 of the World Series, Carson met Correa, who signed the ball and met with the family.

"He's just a really nice guy," Carson said. "It was just cool to see a Major League baseball player in real life."

In that fateful ALCS Game 2, Correa's fly ball brushed Carson's glove and landed at his dad's feet, prompting Yankees manager Joe Girardi to ask for a review to see if Carson had interfered with the play. The ruling on the field was upheld, and an instant celebrity was born. Media from Houston and New York descended upon the family's seats to get the inside scoop on how the play happened.

Friday's meeting was in a more private setting. After batting practice, Correa met with Carson, his mom, Amanda, and his dad, Mike, outside the Astros' clubhouse. The family was given tickets by the Astros and Academy Sports + Outdoors, a major team sponsor.

Video: Extended Cut of Correa's homer in Game 2 of the ALCS

Grief still overwhelms the family in unspeakable ways. But there have been a lot of smiles lately, too, thanks to Carson's new-found fame, a coincidental catch and the kindness of the Astros.

Correa embraced Carson when the two met.

"Thanks for that home run," Correa said. "I owe you that one."

"It's really special," Correa said of the meeting. "He really helped me out big time on that homer. The kid was probably going through tough times, and to bring him a little joy and happiness, it means everything to me. That's what we're here for."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Houston Astros, Carlos Correa