A fastball came whistling in and David Wright winced, nearly falling back as he caught it from a squatting position. "Wow," he said.
The not-so-soft softball was delivered by Olivia Galati, Hofstra's All-American pitcher, who held nothing back in her impromptu catch with Wright Monday at Citi Field.
Hofstra's softball team was honored by the Mets after the Pride went 42-15 and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals for the first time. Tuesday night, the Mets will salute Stony Brook's baseball team, which advanced to the College World Series.
For Galati, the only thing better would have been pitching to Wright at the plate. "I don't think that's legal for us to do," the former St. John the Baptist star said with a laugh.
The junior has thrown seven no-hitters, including a perfect game this season.
"He was struggling," Hofstra coach Bill Edwards said of Wright. "He said [to Galati], 'If you have a knuckleball, throw it.' I said, 'You better put a mask on, because it's a legitimate knuckleball.' He was pretty impressed. Being here puts an exclamation point on our season in such a positive manner."
Hauppauge High School graduate Krista Thorn added, "This is absolutely once-in-a-lifetime. I'm so excited, I'm speechless. It's great to be in a ballpark again, especially with the Mets."
Thorn, a third baseman, met Ike Davis, who asked her where Hofstra is located. "Thirty minutes east of here," Thorn said. Well, not including traffic that made the team's inbound trip quite a bit longer.
The biggest Mets fan on the team is associate head coach Larissa Anderson, who got engaged to Patrick Anderson, the university's former baseball coach, at Shea Stadium in 1997.
"We just wanted to go to a game. Next thing I know, it was up on [DiamondVision]: 'Larissa, will you marry me? Love, Patrick.' I actually go, 'No way, no way, no way.' He's down on one knee and said, 'You know, people can read your lips.' I obviously said, 'Yes.' "
As the visit neared its end, owner Fred Wilpon stopped by. "He was talking about how he was proud of us for making a name for ourselves," Galati said. "He's very nice."