WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Just a couple of dudes that love to hit dingers.Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins and Alfred "Big Al" Delia met Sunday afternoon at Lamade Stadium, a few hours before the Phillies played the Mets in the MLB Little League Classic (7:10 p.m. ET on ESPN) at Historic Bowman
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Just a couple of dudes that love to hit dingers.
Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins and Alfred "Big Al" Delia met Sunday afternoon at Lamade Stadium, a few hours before the Phillies played the Mets in the MLB Little League Classic (7:10 p.m. ET on ESPN) at Historic Bowman Field. Delia's Little League team from Middletown, N.J., lost in the regional round of the Little League World Series, but he made the trip to Williamsport following a memorable introduction that went viral in which he said, "Hi, my name is Alfred Delia. At home they call me 'Big Al,' and I hit dingers."
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Hoskins said he noticed Delia as they walked past each other inside the stadium. Hoskins stopped because he said they "share a common love -- hitting dingers."
"It was cool," Hoskins said. "Obviously, his little video went viral pretty quick. The guy is a character. I think it just reminds you that this game is meant to be fun."
Hoskins tweeted a video of his encounter with Delia a couple hours later.
"Look who I ran into," Hoskins said.
"I'm Big Al," Delia said, smiling.
"Big Al. And one thing that we really both love to do?" Hoskins said.
"Is hit dingers," Delia said.
"Is hit dingers," Hoskins said.
The two fist bumped.
The Phillies flew from Philadelphia to Williamsport Regional Airport on Sunday morning, stepping off the plane with Little Leaguers waiting for them on the tarmac. Former LLWS star Mo'ne Davis was one of the first people off the plane. Canadian Nick Pivetta, who will start Sunday night against the Mets, posed for photos with players from Team Canada. Buses drove them to Lamade Stadium, where they toured the facilities, signed autographs and posed for photos with teams and fans.
Phillies right fielder Nick Williams rode a bus to Lamade with some of the Canadian players. One of the kids handed him a cap for the Australian team, who was there when Williams got off the bus.
"The coach was so stoked," Williams said. ... 'Look at what he's wearing!'" The coach gave me a pin. That was a pretty special moment."
"Rhys was so natural with the kids," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "There's a genuine [feeling]. ... 'I'm here to be in this with you and spend time with you and get to know you and give you a very good experience.' And then there's the one that's kind of manufactured. And what these guys do is just the opposite. It's like, we actually are happy to be here. And you can tell. I think at one point Nick was asking if we could stay over there for a little longer."
Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp, who joined the team as the 26th man Sunday, said he paid $25 for a West regional team cap. Fifteen years ago his team from Northern California lost before making it to Williamsport.
"It's cool to go back when I'm 26 and say, 'I made it finally,"' Knapp said.
Scott Kingery, of course, made the LLWS in 2006 with his team from Arizona. He said connecting with Little Leaguers provided more than a few flashbacks.
"It was pretty surreal because I walked into the dugout as they were getting ready for the game and one of them was like, 'Whoa, Scott Kingery,'" he said. "That's crazy because I remember sitting in that dugout and thinking how cool it would have been for someone to walk in who was playing in Major League Baseball."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.