A random blizzard may have cut short the Rocky Mountain Showdown weekend, but the CSU baseball team accomplished what it set out to do.
Aside from winning the only game played Saturday afternoon against the University of Colorado 5-1, the Rams brightened 8-year-old Lance Gorton’s day. After Gorton, who has T-Cell Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, threw out the ceremonial first pitch, the day blossomed into a success. Colorado State head coach Nick Childs said the team raised about $5,000 for Child Life Zones, a charity that helps children facing illness. The brunt of the money came from the silent auction and the design-your-own bat contest.
The bat made by Gorton and his parents brought in the biggest donation, and Childs said it was the most successful silent auction the team has ever put on. But the biggest win for Childs was watching Gorton, his second-cousin, enjoy himself like a typical young boy should.
“Lance had a blast. He was just full of energy all day and he did a great job with the speech he gave before the game,” Childs said. “I think it touched a lot of people, and one of the umpires came up to me afterwards and told me that if that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, then you don’t have a heart.”
The team had planned on using the double-header against Colorado on Sunday to raise more money for Gorton’s charity, but the snow has forced them to reschedule.
Although there is not yet a set date, Childs is hoping for mid-week games sometime in early May. If spectators and donors are willing, the Rams would also love to raise a bit more money for Zones the next time the Buffaloes roll into town.
“It’s an honor to have helped a charity that is helping a kid like Lance,” Childs said. “He’s such a smart kid, and really understands what he is going through, but is incredibly positive about it. That’s what hits home, that if he can remain positive about that … Winning baseball games is important but to impact a kid’s life like that, it’s truly something special.”Collegian Reporter Cali Rastrelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @c_rasta5.