NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Dickey Stephens Park hosts 66 games a year for the Arkansas Travelers. That means 66 ceremonial first pitches.
“It’s honestly one of my favorite things that we get to do,” Travelers General Manager Sophie Ozier said.
However, on May 21st, the traditional first pitch meant a whole lot more.
15-year-old Dutch Daniel was born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A disorder that leads to muscle degeneration over time. However, that didn’t stop him from throwing a strike Saturday night.
“I played it when I was little with my family in the backyard,” Dutch said.
However, the backyard is a little different than throwing a pitch in front of more than 35 hundred people. On a scale of one to ten, Dutch said his nerves were, “A ten.”
Despite the nerves, Dutch knocked it out of the park.
“Really satisfied,” Dutch added.
Getting to throw out the prestigious first pitch on a professional baseball field is a moment Dutch will never forget, but he says the best part was sharing it with his family.
“There’s something different about being proud of your siblings. It just hits different,” Dutch’s sister Finley Daniel said. “He’s representing not only me, his family, but also the disabled community.”
Even though Dutch was born with a disorder that degenerates his muscle over time, his bravery grows every day.
“It’s not so hard when you get the courage,” Dutch said confidently.
“He can still do things, it’s just different,” Finley added. “Sometimes it might not be convenient, but it’s still possible, you just have to have that community around you to help you do that.”