Belton, Texas - It was a night for the record books. Dee Dillon has never seen a thing like it. There were basketball players in center field, soccer players in left, the space between third base and home plate was lined with women's soccer players, and from home to first by a string of softball players. There were 50 athletes on the field, but somehow everyone batted 1.000.
UMHB hosted the Centex Champs Thursday night in a game that no one will soon forget. The Champs, a local softball organization with four teams of athletes with special needs, took the field for their long-awaited moment under the bright lights. No one left disappointed.
Athletes from UMHB filled the outfield, took ground balls inside, lined the bases for runners to pass by, and cheered when each Champ crossed home plate.
The CRU paired with athletes from the Bandits and the Indians for the opening game. The Indians opened at the plate, while the Bandits took the field; they batted straight through the lineup before the Bandits had their turn and did the same.
"Last night was amazing for Elliott and Robbie," Karen Wall said.
Robbie and Elliott are members of the Indians. It has been three years since their dad passed. It was their first time since then to have a male with whom to play sports.
"Robbie said last night and this morning, 'Mom, I miss Tyson, Luke, and Drew. I wish I could play with them again,'" Wall said.
Elliott echoed his brother's sentiments. As for mom, she said watching her sons play softball, with the help of the members of the UMHB Soccer team, granted her a sense of normalcy.
"I was able to be a parent watching her boys play ball from the bleachers," she said, "a rare moment for a mother with two special needs children."
The UMHB Softball team opened the day with a pair of wins over Howard Payne University. Member of both the baseball and softball teams wore awareness ribbons on their helmets, playing in honor of a member of each of the Centex Champs.
After the Bandits and the Indians played to a tie, it was the Cowboys and the Rangers turn. The Cowboys batted first, as Cowboys coach Scott Yearwood pitched to both teams. He didn't make it long before his son, Tannor, started heckling dad from the dugout.
"Oh, come on dad," Tannor yelled.
When it was Tannor's turn, he didn't disappoint. He slammed two balls to the outfield, scoring home runs in both before making sure to hug all his fans cheering him on at home plate.
At the end of the night, both games ended in a tie. Each athlete went home with an autographed home run ball. The Champs are still the champs. They remain, forever, undefeated.