By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The Belton High School baseball team recently visited hospitalized patients at McLane Children’s Hospital while touring the facility. The team brought smiles and baseballs while encouraging patients to get better.
On Monday, March 8, the team boarded a bus and arrived in Temple at McLane’s Children’s Hospital. Upon arrival, the team was greeted by hospital staff members and informed the team of what they would see.
The event, put together by Belton head coach Eddie Cornblum via a joint effort from Baylor Scott & White, is special to Cornblum’s heart. He had a child that benefitted from the excellent services at Scott & White.
“We started doing this event in 2011,” Cornblum said. “It has been great for us. It shows our kids not to take health for granted and how to give back to our community. Our kids do not have idea what these children have to go through every day of their lives. It gives them a different perspective on life and baseball is great means of trying to break away from everyday worries. A win or a loss is no great deal in life as opposed to what these kids have had to deal with.”
The team visited with children on the third, fourth and fifth floors. Some of the players and student trainers did recognize some of the patients they visited.
The visit was documented in reports by several media sources, which included KWTX-TV 10 and KWKT-TV 44, both based in Waco/Killeen.
The annual “Home Run for Health” game raised well over $2,500 for McLane Children’s Hospital patients, as the Belton Tigers took to the field on Saturday. Monetary donations, coloring books and crayons and other items were donated. A genuine piece of Belton Tigers baseball history was involved in a silent auction: a 1994 Belton Tigers Class 4A State Championship signed baseball. Donation stations and a “pass the hat” was conducted to raise the funds.
In games past, the Tigers raised funds for different medical equipment.
The game, originally scheduled for Friday night, was played before a capacity crowd at Tiger Field late Saturday afternoon against Waco Midway Panthers.
A few of patients were selected as “McLane Champion Children” and attended the game with their families. The McLane Champion Children were given autographed Belton Tiger batting helmets, posed for a team picture and even warmed up with the team on the field prior to the important district game against the Panthers.
All of the McLane Champion Children participated in throwing out the first pitch with Dr. John L. Boyd III, MD, MBA, CPE, FAAP, President & CEO of McLane Children’s Hospital.
The game itself, a 7-2 win for Waco Midway, wasn’t about the win or the loss. It was the fact the McLane Champion Children enjoyed the day with their favorite baseball team: the Belton Tigers.
“We want to teach children that life is more than playing the game of baseball,” Cornblum said. “It’s about giving back and making a difference.”
For more information about Baylor Scott & White McLane’s Children’s Hospital and how you can volunteer or donate, visit their website at www.swchildrens.org and visit their About Us section.