Oldham County teen injured in freak sword accident throws out first pitch
A short time after the accident the president of North Oldham Little League visited Tristan in the hospital and gave him a ball that said "Opening Day April 15, 2017."
LA GRANGE, Ky. (WDRB) – Baseball season is officially underway for North Oldham Little League. Saturday morning Tristan Ballinger threw out the first pitch just five months after suffering a severe brain injury in a sword accident.
Close to 600 young athletes from 59 different teams piled their way into Walsh Park for North Oldham Little League's Opening Ceremonies. After each team was introduced and the National Anthem was sung, a special guest took the mound.
“At this time, we're going to have the first pitch. I'd like to introduce Tristan Ballinger with his dad, Mike and the rest of his family and friends,” said North Oldham Little League President Bradley Clifford.
With some assistance, Tristan and a little league player threw that first pitch. Tristan was all smiles as the crowd cheered.
“Five months ago, we never thought this day would come,” said Mike Ballinger, Tristan’s dad.
In November Tristan was seriously injured in a freak accident when he was struck in head with a sword. A short time after the accident, Clifford visited Tristan in the hospital.
“And he had a baseball with him and he gave it to Tristan and on the baseball it had a date, it said Opening Day April 15, 2017,” Mike Ballinger said.
At a time when doctors didn't expect the now 16-year-old to live, talk or be able to move his arms and legs ever again, it gave the family a goal to work towards.
“It's an amazing story what he’s gone through and where he's at now compared to where he was,” Clifford said. “And ya know he's getting better every day.”
Tristan's recovery so far has been nothing short of miraculous. His family says a big part of that is from the community support and its prayers.
“Every time we're out we feel that, but especially today,” Mike Ballinger said.
The baseball diamond is where Tristan has spent many years from playing t-ball to high school baseball.
“It was great. It's brought back a lot of fond memories,” Mike Ballinger said.
“He's one of my best friends. And I've played on a team with him for like six yeas total,” said friend and teammate Derek Webb.
“Just being able to come back, back to where it all started and throw out a first pitch with my best friend -- it was very special,” friend and teammate Hunter Schoengart added.
Tristan's dad says hopefully next year -- Tristan will be able to throw out the first pitch on his own.
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