LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) – When 18-year-old Jon Box hit a pop-fly to the third baseman in his first at bat Friday night, he hung his head and jogged back to the dugout. He grabbed his glove and hat and made his way to his position at shortstop, not expecting anything special to happen.

But when Jon's dad, United States Army Colonel Ed Box, ran on to the field, John forgot entirely about that first inning at bat.

“I was trying to figure out how best I could come and surprise my children,” Colonel Box said. “They knew daddy was going to come home at some point.”

Colonel Box has spent the last 11 months in Kabul, Afghanistan. He's on two weeks leave now and said surprising John on the diamond was a no-brainer.

“I said, I would really like to surprise him on the baseball field because my son loves baseball so much,” Colonel Box said.

But it wasn't just his son John that was in for a surprise. His younger son Andrew also didn't expect to see dad run out on the field Friday evening.

“I was surprised when he came out I was like, who is that?” Andrew said. “Then I was like, it's dad!”

The reunion on the mound was an emotional one to be sure, but after it was over, Colonel Box was all business cheering his son and the team on from the dugout. In fact, Box is familiar with the dugout, having helped coach the team last season.

“Being able to come back and see who has changed and who is still here," Box said. “It's just a great privilege to come back here.”

It's not just a baseball game that Box was able to make it home for either. In just under two weeks, he'll watch his son John graduate from high school as well.

“So the 29th of May he'll graduate and walks across the stage,” Box said. “Then I'll go back to Kabul and finish my tour.”

Fort Knox ended up winning the game 16-4. John plans on attending the University of Kentucky after graduation.

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