Posted at: 06/20/2012 11:53 PM
| Updated at: 06/21/2012 9:57 AM
By: Jessica Layton
TROY - Opening night for the Tri-City ValleyCats Wednesday was more memorable than ever for a Colonie Family.
As thousands of fans were sitting in the sweltering heat, 11-year-old Joe Mendrick felt like the coolest kid at Joe Bruno Stadium.
Imagine you're a kid in love with baseball throwing out the first pitch at your local minor league team's home opener.
"I'm nervous because it's sold out. It's exciting. I got cleared last Thursday for ball," said Joey Mendrick.
A thumbs up was received from the 11- year-old's doctors after he nearly died on his Little League field back in April.
"The ball hit me in the chest, I was down, the coaches started doing CPR on me," he said.
His heart had stopped beating.
It happened while Joey was up to bat. The ball smacked him in the chest. Mark Mendrick watched as his son collapsed at home plate.
"I actually thought he'd broken a rib. I never thought cardiac arrest at all," Mark said.
Brian Curran was the first officer at the scene.
"As soon as I ran to the field I noticed right away the little boy, Joey, was blue and his eyes were rolled in the back of his head," Officer Curran said.
Curran was among the dozens who helped revive the boy. It was touch and go for a while.
Gripping the ball like a pro Wednesday night, Joey had only one thing on his mind -- throwing a strike.
Joey got the call to come on out and throw the first pitch a week after the accident. He's been looking forward to it ever since. In a lot of ways, it's helped him through his recovery.
As he took the field with his dad and the responders who helped save his life, he shook off the nerves. With the sold out crowd cheering for him, he threw a great pitch.
"It's kind of a modern miracle and God's got something special planned for him in the future," said Mark.
Dad had no doubt he'd be back to play. But don't call this a happy ending -- rather, a great chapter in a long story of a boy and his love for the game.
"(Baseball) is important. One of the most important things I do," said Joey.