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St. Anthony team wins baseball tournament to raise awareness for coach’s son

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ST. ANTHONY — South Fremont High School’s baseball team celebrated a victory in the 5th Annual ‘Ricky’s Cerebral Palsy Awareness Wood Bat Tournament’ Saturday.

The tournament began five years ago to fulfill two passions of South Fremont Head Coach Chad Hill – playing baseball and raising awareness for his 9-year-old son, Ricky.

Ricky was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when he was 2. He has had to learn to walk with braces but still loves everything baseball.

“He loves coming to the baseball field,” Hill explains. “He loves hanging out with the boys and coming in the dugout.”

At the championship game, Ricky always throws out the ceremonial first pitch. The two opposing teams line up to watch and support him.

Hill explained that the tournaments started with six teams and expanded over the years. Teams from states like Nevada and Wyoming have participated. This year, due to COVID-19, out of state teams couldn’t be a part of it, but eight eastern Idaho High School teams still came to play.

Idaho Falls High School’s JV baseball team lost to South Fremont in the championship game. But after the game, they all lined up to shake Ricky’s hand and thank him for playing with them.

“That was one of the coolest things I have seen an opposing team do,” Hill tells EastIdahoNews.com.

Hill hopes that the kids playing in the tournament don’t take their physical abilities for granted.

“Not every kid that wants to play can go out and do it,” he added.

His goal in raising awareness for children with CP is simply to let people know how much fun they are.

“These kids are really happy go lucky kids and they just want you to say hi to them and acknowledge them and treat them like everyone else,” he said. “They are a loving group and want to show you their love right back.”

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