HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover baseball team welcomed Spalding to K.T. Young Ballpark for their home opener on Tuesday, March 3 but the game was about much more than just baseball for the Panthers.
The team hosted Developmental Services, Inc. (DSI) for a pre-game cookout and autograph session that saw more than 60 DSI clients mingle and take the field side-by-side Panther student-athletes.
The Blue and Red invited the individuals to run the bases and take part in one of baseball's most historical traditions, the ceremonial first pitch. This year's game saw Sean Beatty, a client at DSI in Madison, throw a perfect strike to senior Brayden Imel (Barbourville, Ky.).
"DSI day was such a humbling experience for both myself and my teammates," added Brayden Imel. "We were excited to see the joy on all of their faces. Everyone at the ballpark that day left with a happy heart."
Despite dropping the early season matchup with the Golden Eagles, the experience is one that won't soon be forgotten.
"The opportunity to serve the clients of DSI, was one of the great moments in our season. We often, as players and coaches, get lost in our day to day, and being able to see the joy the clients had on their faces was an experience second to none," raved head coach Grant Bellak. "Our guys walked away with a sense of gratitude to those folks and for the opportunity to play the game of baseball."
"I've been involved with DSI events in the past, but this one had a little more meaning for me," stated sophomore, catcher, Charlie Burton (Columbus, Ind.). "Being able to watch DSI's clients have the opportunity to do something I get to do every day shows me that there is more to baseball and life than just playing a game. The goal of DSI is to give individuals opportunities that they don't get every day and to be able to give them this one was special. Moments like Sean throwing the first pitch before the game, and hearing everyone cheering us on throughout the game is something I'm going to remember for a long time."