Kids throw first pitch at baseball game, have no idea Army dad’s the catcher

Technical Sergeant Lance Daigle from the United States Air Force returned home after he was deployed for six months overseas. He missed his family dearly and wanted to surprise his two children with his return.
Lance’s two children, 11-year-old Cameron and 13-year-old daughter Karley, were invited to throw the ceremonial opening pitch at a minor league baseball game in Zebulon, North Carolina. The USAF Sergeant wore a catcher’s uniform and did his best to catch the baseballs.


Cameron and Karley believed that they were invited onto the field by winning a VIP experience raffle, but in reality, it was their dad that set-up the whole thing.
The Daigle family regularly enters online raffles and competitions, but when Karley told her dad that she won a prize on April Fool’s Day, she didn’t know if it was real because of the unfortunate date. Lance immediately said that he filled something out and that the prize was legitimate.
However, Karley had no idea that it was actually her dad that sent an e-mail to the Carolina Mudcats, a baseball team in the neighborhood. He sent them a mail explaining his situation and that he wanted to surprise his kids and his wife Emily.


“This could be my last deployment before I retire so she and one of her friends started to think about a surprise,” Lance said. “They thought of the Mudcats because we’ve been to games and they’re big supporters of the military.”
The Carolina Mudcats were thrilled to help out with the surprise and took over the organization of the surprise. They emailed Karley the VIP experience winning tickets and made sure that the Sergeant would have a matching uniform to wear on the day that he returned.
“And then we just hoped for the best from there because with the military sometimes things happen,” he said. “But I made it back on the day I needed to.”


When the catcher took off his helmet, emotions fill the stadium and his kids gave him a heartwarming welcome back. According to a spokeswoman for the baseball team, it was “hard to see a dry” everywhere she looked.
“Both teams were paying attention and that’s not something that normally happens,” said Becca Holtgreive, the team’s director of community relations. “It was special.”
After nineteen years of service, the Technical Sergeant has no future deployments in his near future and will enjoy spending his time with his family.
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