Sports isn’t just about building rivalries, winning and trying to collect trophies.
On Thursday, at Scottsdale Horizon’s Husky Park, it was about the “brotherhood of baseball,” as coach Eric Kibler put it.
Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor showed up in orange shirts, a show of solidarity for Horizon junior pitcher Collin Demas, who hasn’t been able to play this season as he receives treatments to battle leukemia.
The coaching staff and team purchased orange shirts in honor of Demas. Horizon took a group picture of the two teams together with Demas after O’Connor’s 4-2 victory.
“This is what sports is about,” said Kibler, the state’s all-time winningest high school baseball coach with more than 800 wins. “Class act by O’Connor baseball.”
SDO coach Jeff Baumgartner said the idea to do this began with his wife, Darlene, who is the principal at Liberty Elementary School in Paradise Valley, where Demas attended grade school.
“The community there has been doing a lot of work to help the family,” Jeff Baumgartner said. “Then I spoke with coach Kibler on Tuesday at our game to check in on Collin’s progress and he told me that they were going to be wearing hitting shirts with the color orange (on Thursday).
“I thought it would be a great sign of solidarity for our players to wear orange shirts for pregame. Mark Daus at Xtreme Apparel was kind enough to donate us some shirts with a logo and each player’s number on it to support the cause.
“We work as coaches to constantly try to get the players to take the focus off of themselves and encourage them to see the big picture around them and work towards something bigger than themselves. This was just an example of the brotherhood that comes with playing youth sports and how we are all together in this and many other causes.”