A light drizzle may have sent some scrambling for cover — or better yet, to their nearest concession stand for a cold beverage.
But as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans field crew draped a tarp over the diamond, one person opted to remain out in the elements, soaking in as much of Thursday night’s experience at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark as he could.
“I want to play catch … can I?” said 9-year-old Gabe Davis, as the boy from Berea, Ohio, reached for his glove.
As if he needed any warm-up tosses, Pelicans first baseman Matt Rose was more than willing to oblige. Fifteen minutes later, Davis had a much larger audience, taking his spot at the base of the mound before firing a strike into the glove of Myrtle Beach catcher and designated hitter Tyler Alamo.
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While first pitches have become a customary event prior to baseball games, this one proved quite special for the boy from Ohio — and the Pelicans, for that matter.
Born with severe leg deformities, Davis is unable to walk without the assistance of crutches and/or prosthetic legs. Such limitations aren’t keeping him from playing the game he loves, though.
“He’s been working for three years to learn how to throw, so that’s a big thing for him,” said Davis’ father, Ryan. “So that’s a big thing for him, when you learn how to throw and catch, you can play on a typical team.”
Often, he can be seen playing catch with different players and fans. During his family’s trip to Myrtle Beach for one of his brother’s baseball tournaments, a local news affiliate got a look at what he had to offer.
“It’s funny because they ran the story, and somehow it got picked up in Cleveland (Ohio),” Ryan Davis said.
After airing on a Cleveland news station, a tweet was sent in the direction of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, hoping to build momentum toward allowing Gabe to throw out the first pitch in Thursday game against the Down East Wood Ducks.
The Chicago Cubs’ Class A-Advanced affiliate was more than willing to oblige.
“Graciously the Pelicans let him … he is excited beyond belief,” Ryan Davis said.
After receiving such an opportunity, the Ohio boy received a standing ovation courtesy of fans on hand for the night’s festivities. More importantly, though, he had a message for the home team as it prepared to start the second half of the Carolina League season.
“Gooooooo Pelicans! Let’s get this win!,” Gabe Davis said.