Teen With Down Syndrome Bats In Varsity Game - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Teen With Down Syndrome Bats In Varsity Game

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AUDUBON, NJ -

A high school student with Down syndrome got the chance to fulfill his dream of batting in his first baseball game on Wednesday afternoon.

If Michael Arechavala seemed to have a little extra jump in his step as he joined his teammates for a pre-game warm-up on Greenberg Field it was easy to understand why.

The 15-year-old Audubon freshman has Down syndrome, and was less than 24 hours removed, from the biggest athletic "triumph" of his life.

It was the 5th inning of a regular season contest against Woodbury High and Audubon was up big.

Head coach Rich Horan says with play-off seedings already set Michael, a freshman, was allowed to hang with the big boys.

They took to him like a power hitter to a hanging curve.

"The varsity came to me and said, 'We like him the locker room. We like him on the field. He brings a little bit of energy to us," said Horan.

Horan told Michael to head for home plate.

The boy's mom was at her daughter's softball game when she got a text message: "They're letting Mike bat."

"And I just about fell over. I was so surprised and happy for him,"she said.

Michael couldn't quite get around on the fastballs thrown his way.

He struck out, but hasn't stopped smiling since.

Afterward, Donna Arechavala greeted her son at home.

"I said, 'Mike, what happened at the game today?' 'We won.' I said, 'Anything else?' he goes, 'I batted!” said Donna.

The team thumped the Devils 10 to nothing.

A big win for the team, but no more important than Michael's strikeout the day before.

"It means something to the program. You’re teaching kids that baseball isn't everything. Some things in life you've got to do a little bit extra to make people happy," said Horan.

And when this one was over, Michael did what most ballplayers, and all teenagers do, gave his mom a grudging hug while she gushed over his oh-for-one performance at the plate.

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