Hunter Adamson is a fighter.
At age 7, the Bethesda, Maryland native was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and was given only a 15% chance of survival. Two years later, at age 9, Hunter was declared cancer-free.
When Hunter’s favorite baseball team, his hometown Baltimore Orioles, heard about his incredible story, they invited Hunter and his entire family to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Red Sox, and were going to give Hunter the chance to throw out the ceremonial “first pitch” during pregame festivities.
Well, this cute story is about to take a hard turn for the worse, because due to some sort of horrible mixup, Hunter was sent out to the mound by the Orioles’ fan relations staff in the top of the first inning to throw the actual first pitch of the game, instead of scheduled Orioles starter Dylan Bundy.
You can probably guess what happened next, and it’s not good.
Before any Orioles players or coaches realized what was going on, Hunter went into his windup and released the pitch, an arcing rainbow at 36 miles per hour. Sadly, Hunter is a great Little League pitcher and has pinpoint accuracy, so the ball came right down the middle of the plate to Red Sox leadoff hitter Mookie Betts. The powerful Betts patiently waited back, swung, and crushed the ball over the fence for a leadoff home run.
“Crushed” may not do this home run justice. I mean, it was absolutely demolished. Murdered. The ball sailed into the upper deck in left field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, rare territory for any hitter to reach. MLB’s Statcast measured the distance at 474 feet, good for the sixth longest home run in the Majors this season.
As Betts crossed home plate on his home run trot to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead, Orioles manager Buck Showalter sprung out from the dugout to the mound to pull the bewildered Hunter from the game and replace him with Bundy. Hunter then sprinted back to the dugout with tears welling up in his eyes, as the just-under 14,000 fans in attendance were stunned into silence at what just happened.
Well, this is just sad. Again, we’re not sure how the Orioles screwed this up, but they did, and it was hard to watch.
Congratulations for beating caner, Hunter, but man oh man, we’re really sorry about your first pitch.