BOISE-- In any sport, “senior night” is always a special night for athletes playing in the final home game of their high school career. But for the Timberline baseball team, “senior night” had an extra special feel to it on Monday.
Leading up to the final home game of the season, Timberline head coach Larry Price wanted to be sure that every senior was sent out with a great final farewell. He planned pre-game ceremonies for the eight seniors on the roster, and was sure to include bat boy Eddie Gordon in the planning.
Gordon, who was born with Down syndrome, has been watching the bats for the Wolves for the past two seasons. In Price’s mind, he had put in just as much hard work as the other players. It was a sentiment echoed by the players.
“Just how he acts makes us act better as a person,” sophomore shortstop Parker Price said. “Just seeing him every day, and just how he acts around people, and how he can just change a mood like that. If you're mad or a play didn't go your way, you completely forget about it when you come into the dugout and see his smiling face.”
Because of Eddie’s inspirational personality and love for baseball, coach Price had something extra special arranged for “Fast Eddie,” as he is called on the team.
Prior to Monday, Price reached out to Centennial head coach Brian Champion and told him Eddie’s story. The two agreed that he should get a chance to experience a high school at bat just like everyone else. With the agreement in place, it was “Fast Eddie” that Price sent up to the plate first as ceremonial leadoff batter.
Eddie responded by making contact with the ball and running the bases, just as he has seen his teammates do for the past two years. He was mobbed at the plate by the Wolves and carried off the field with arms raised in triumph and a beaming smile on his face to a standing ovation from the crowd.
“He is part of this family,” Price said.
The emotional start to the game may have been the inspiration that Timberline (7-14) needed. After Eddie’s at bat, his teammates followed his lead and defeated Centennial, 13-3.