Play Ball!

Giddy with the Opening Day honor of yelling “Play ball” to get the Walla Walla Sweets baseball season going, Ami Cross, 6, bubbles with enthusiasm just before her big moment.

Giddy with the Opening Day honor of yelling “Play ball” to get the Walla Walla Sweets baseball season going, Ami Cross, 6, bubbles with enthusiasm just before her big moment. Photo by Jeff Horner.

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Funny thing about final scores – they don’t always tell the whole story.

Wednesday night’s season opening game at Borleske Stadium for the 2013 Walla Walla Sweets baseball team goes down

in the record book as a 4-1 loss to the visiting Bend Elks.

But it was a lot more than just a final score.

It was sheer joy for 6-year-old Ami Cross, who was so giddy with excitement that she repeatedly practiced her words and gestures moments before having the honor of yelling “Play ball” in front of near-packed stands.

It was all about the onions – sweet ones of course – when members of the DeSales State 2B Championship baseball team tossed, en masse, the cermonial first onion(s) to a line of Sweets players, adding yet another moment to the Irish baseball year.

And ultimately it was about building new memories for a new season with a stadium full of cheering fans. Fans who weathered the heat and devoured hot dogs and drinks while extending a warm welcome to this year’s boys of summer.

College kids from home towns with names like Seal Beach, Calif.

Eagle, Idaho.

Hilo, Hawaii.

Lee’s Summit, Mo., and Walla Walla, Wash.

Kids from all around the country who love baseball.

Dream baseball.

Live baseball – and play it as long as they can.

With host families who open their doors (and refrigerators) to make a home away from home – and the show of support from folks who have once more found baseball in Walla Walla – it’s pretty easy to see how the short end of a 4-1 score can be misleading.

Players.

Families.

Coaches, grounds crew, concessions, security and fans.

Mascots and bat boys.

Reporters.

Photographers.

Everyone who helped make it possible.

Just being there for Opening Day was an easy win. Even if the score said otherwise.

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