HUGHESVILLE - A few months ago, Addison Hauser was staring at a long hospital visit. The 7-year old colon cancer patient was not eating and would have to be placed on a feeding tube.
Her parents Michael and Destini then turned to bribery. They told Addison that if she did not start eating she would be unable to throw out the first pitch as scheduled on May 7 at Hughesville's Strike Out Cancer Game against South Williamsport. Two bunches of bananas later Addison was regaining her strength and has not stopped eating since. And there she was Tuesday, making a terrific throw to catcher Kaitlyn Laforme as all those in attendance, including the two teams lined up along the base lines, cheered.
Sarah March went 4 for 4 and finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle while Anna Steer threw a five-inning, five-hit shutout as South blanked Hughesville, 12-0. The Mounties (11-6) delivered 15 hits and eight players either had a hit or scored a run.
Cancer patient Addison “Addi” Hauser, 7, winds up to throw the first pitch of the game as her mother Destini McQuillen and brother Jayden Hauser, 11, of Hughesville look on before?Hughesville played South Williamsport Tuesday.
But the day belonged to Addison.
"She is just ecstatic," Michael said. "She has been looking forward to this for months."
"This is amazing. The team really took her under their wings and she loved it," Destini said. "They made her feel like a super star."
Addison was the center piece of the day's festivities. She is battling colon cancer as has her older sister, Hughesville player Latisha. Hughesville started having Strike Out Cancer Games last year and is promoting awareness for a different form each season. Last year it was Breast Cancer and this year it was colon cancer, with Hughesville wearing navy blue jerseys while raising money through various fundraisers.
South held a similar benefit game for MS this year and lent its support by wearing ribbons and signing softballs with inspirational quotes on them for both Addison and Latisha. Both teams knew they were taking part in something bigger than themselves.
"The girls organize it and do almost all the work and it's great to see," Hughesville coach J.C. Miller said. "It is really well-received by the community and I think everyone realizes that softball is more than winning and losing."
"What an inspirational story with the little girl and her sister. That really touched the players," South coach Scott Stugart said. "Kids sometimes think they are immortal and when you can be in touch with something like this it gets them thinking about life. This is a great group of kids and they get it."
March said she felt inspired watching Addison and Latisha during the pregame ceremony and delivered one of the best performances in her standout scholastic career. The senior catcher set the game's tone when she clobbered a one-out home run well over the left-field fence two batters into the game. She singled her next time up, hit a three-run double that was part of a nine-run third the next time and smashed a ground-rule double in her last at-bat.
March easily would have had a triple and the cycle had the ball not rolled under the fence.
"I don't think about the stats or my batting average or anything like that. I just want to go up there and get hits and help the team," March said. "To be a part of this made me feel good inside and I was really feeling good today. I hadn't been hitting that well but I was seeing the ball well and I was happy to be back hitting like I was earlier in the year."
Hughesville nearly pulled within 3-2 in the second inning when Brianna Stroup hit a deep fly ball down the right-field line. Instead, Lizz Cummings made a terrific running catch, saved two runs and ended the inning. An inning later, South effectively ended the game. The Mounties delivered nine hits and scored nine runs, seven with two outs while building a 12-0 lead.
Kelsey Gantz (3 for 4) ignited the rally with a lead-off double and had two hits in the inning while Cummings (2 for 4) and Alana Stugart (3 for 4) hit consecutive RBI singles. Sabrina Mussare kept the inning alive with a two-out bunt single before March delivered the biggest blow and Kalynn Wheeland followed with a RBI single. By the end of the inning, South had 14 hits and had produced nine 2-out runs and that was plenty for Steer who stranded seven baserunners.
"Hitting is contagious, especially with our team. Once someone does something good everybody kind of feeds off that and builds on it," March said. "We're like a bunch of sisters and we're all pulling for each other."
And after yesterday, they and all those who attended the game, will be pulling for Addison and Latisha.
South129 00-12 15 1
Hughesville000 00-0 5 3
Anna Steer and Sarah March. Cindie Wilt, Elle Watts (3) and Kaitlyn Laforme. W-Steer, (8-6). L-Wilt.
Top South hitters: March 4-4, HR, 2 2Bs, 4 RBI, 2 R; Rachel Floyd 1-2, RBI, R; Kelsey Gantz 3-4, 2 R, 2B; Lizz Cummings 2-4, 2 RBI, 2 R; Alana Stugart 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R; Sabrina Mussare 1-2, 2 R. Top Hughesville hitter: Cortney Zook 2-3.
Records: South 11-6, 7-6 HAC-II. Hughesville 3-15, 2-12.