Westland Hills Baseball hands out first 'Coach of the Year' award

June 20, 2017 11:48 PM

ALBANY - At the Westland Hills Baseball and Softball league in Albany the motto is, all kids that want to play, will play whether it's with each other or with their fidget spinners.

"I don't know, I'm just entertained by it for some odd reason," Riley Lavigne explained.

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But for some, like ten-year-old Riley Levine, being active doesn't always come easy.

"Some days everything is so-called normal, we're like our old self and some days he spends a lot of time in bed," Riley's mother, Shannon said.

Two years ago, Riley was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a metabolic disorder that prevents his body from coverting food into energy which affects his G. I. tract and causes fatigue.

But ask Riley how he feels and he'll say, "I feel amazing."

Even though he wears leg braces, Riley has enjoyed playing soccer, adaptive skiing and his favorite sport lacrosse but when all the running was making him sick, the doctor said he had to stop. 

"We just happen to be at a birthday party this winter and the dad said to me would he be interested in playing baseball but he would make it work for him no matter what," Shannon added.

That dad was coach Jon Creamer.

"I mention that we can bend the rules a little bit have some play with some of the things that we could do," Creamer explained.

Wearing a cooling vest and playing no more than three innings, Riley can play baseball alongside his teammates and has even lead them to a playoff game win.

"It was pretty incredible, it was awesome and his face when he came across that plate was just pure joy, it was fantastic it was awesome," Creamer recalled.

Tuesday night, the players received trophies and Coach Creamer got one of his own- Coach of the Year.

"I was definitely caught off guard, for sure," Creamer said.

An award honoring what he's taught on the field and off of it.

"It's not just about the game itself it's about teamwork about working together and making friends building relationships through pushing through," Creamer said.

Riley added, "He's one of the best coaches I ever had."


Karen Tararache

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