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Teen with special needs throws out first pitch at Virginia Beach game

Posted at 7:16 AM, Oct 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-20 11:48:49-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A teen with special needs got the chance to throw out the first pitch at a Kempsville Pony baseball game.

"It's the kids who made a difference to my son and for that I'm eternally grateful," said Karen Altobello.

The love of the game of baseball is strong with 16-year-old Tommy Altobello, but because he has developmental delays, he's always cheering during the game instead of being a part of it. Or so he thought...

"I noticed we had a very enthusiastic cheerleader," said Muckdogs coach Ron Rancourt.

Coach Rancourt first noticed Tommy on Saturday. When he saw him again before the game on Tuesday night, he had an idea -- have Tommy throw out the first pitch.

"It made, honestly, like, the year. One moment, an act of kindness, that's all it took," Karen says. "He can't say thank you, you know, but I know because he's let me know what it's done for him. And what it's done for me as a mother, it's unreal."

This time, it was the players who were cheering Tommy on.

"I thought it was really cool how we got to do that for him. I bet it meant a lot to him. I'm really happy we got to do that," said one of the players, Tyler Schellenberger.

But that wasn't all... the team had another play up their sleeve. Tommy was presented with a Kempsville Pony All-Stars hat!

Now Karen is hoping others will be inspired to do the same.

"If you have an opportunity, go out and change somebody's life. A simple act of kindness can change so many people's lives."