ST. PETERSBURG — Amelia Lamoscatella always brings her glove to Rays games.
She has attended about 450 games, but has only snared one foul ball.
In the eighth inning of the Rays game Wednesday night, a rocket off Ben Zobrist's bat zoomed toward her seat along the first base line near the dugout. She readied for the big catch.
The ball smacked her in the face. Then it bounced back onto the field. Oh, the agony of defeat!
Rays first base coach George Hendrick fetched the ball and gave it to her. A smattering of applause followed.
A couple pitches later, the unthinkable: Another foul ball from Zobrist came Lamoscatella's way. She got ready. This time, she snared it with her glove.
The crowd cheered louder.
After Zobrist walked, Carl Crawford came up to bat. Thwack! Then the impossible: A third ball was hit to her.
Again, she flashed her leather and snagged it.
The crowd erupted. Players stood and cheered. By the end of the night, highlights of her feat were all over sports shows.
"After that first ball, I thought well, as long as I'm not bleeding … I'm not going to give up," said Lamoscatella, 57, a retired Verizon employee and former Army sergeant. "I went for it."
Lamoscatella is a season ticket holder and softball player. She said catching the fouls was one of the best moments of her life.
"She was awesome," said manager Joe Maddon. "She took it in the jaw, the first one, didn't she? She didn't flinch. She came right back, she put her nose right back in there. I thought it was very impressive."
On Thursday, Lamoscatella, of St. Petersburg, was nursing her bruises but enjoying her 15 minutes of fame.
"I felt like a star," said Lamoscatella, who gave two of the balls to friends and kept one for herself.
If not for a stroke of good luck, Lamoscatella wouldn't have been sitting in that spot. Normally she and her friend, Lynda Flood, sit over home plate in the upper deck. On Wednesday, a friend invited them to sit in his seats along the first-base line.
"It was just all meant to be," Flood, 59, said. "It's a night we'll never forget."
Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report.