A teenager with Down Syndrome at a school at a western Pa. school got to fulfill his dreams of hitting a baseball in a game this season.
As Pittsburgh’s WTAE-TV tells it, after a lopsided junior varsity game with Greensburg-Salem (Greensburg, Pa.) last week, umpire Gary Harvat gave the go-ahead for Southmoreland (Alverton, Pa.) 16-year-old Garrett Ansell to get an extra at-bat.
Ansell connected with the ball and got the chance to round the bases, with both sides cheering him on.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Ansell has played in all six JV games this year, getting to bat and play in the field. He also plays golf, swims and plays basketball in the Special Olympics games.
“My players quickly caught on what was occurring,” Greensburg-Salem coach Nick Diehl told the Tribune-Review. “It was one of those moments that it became more than just a game. We’re teaching kids to become men and how to play the right way.”
Harvat relayed the story of what he’d seen in the April 18th game to his boss, Edward Marasco, who in turn posted the story on Facebook.
As of Tuesday afternoon, it had been shared nearly 3,000 times.
Ansell then got another hit Saturday in a game against Pittsburgh’s Seton-La Salle Catholic.
“Nothing could make me prouder of Garrett,” Russ Ansell, Garrett’s father, told WTAE. “Nothing could make me prouder of the community, of the school district, the coaches and the team, I couldn’t be prouder. They’ve been so amazing. I can’t even explain how it makes me feel for what they’ve done for him.”