Boy wakes from coma, gets to throw first pitch
SNOHOMISH - Eight-year-old Caleb’s last words before he lost consciousness for four days broke his mom’s heart.
“He mouthed to me, around the tube in his mouth breathing for him, ‘I’m going to miss my last game,’” mom Annie Thurman said.
The baseball enthusiast was expecting to be playing the season’s last game with his Little League team, the White Sox, on June 16, but was instead lying in the emergency room at Providence, suffering from a severe asthma attack that had turned into croup, a respiratory infection triggered by an acute viral infection.
Meanwhile, Caleb’s coach Tyler Hale and fellow league coach Jesse Pollard were not only planning on having a substitute last team game with an accompanying barbecue just for Caleb when he got out of the hospital, but they also started setting up a way for Caleb to throw the first pitch at an Everett AquaSox game.
After spending the night at Providence on June 13, Caleb was transferred to Seattle’s Children’s Hospital intensive care unit, where he stayed unconscious with a machine breathing for him until he was released June 17.
Just over a month later, Caleb learned he would be throwing the ceremonial first pitch for the AquaSox and spent days before the July 24 game furiously practicing with his grandpa.
Thurman said chants from the stands cheered Caleb on, who said he was happy after pitching that day.
“Then we went out on the field during the anthem, and I got to run with number 20,” Caleb said, explaining what it was like to run with a player as the team was announced.
Caleb’s little brother Braydon wasn’t left out — he got to run with number 12.
Thurman said Caleb, whose Little League team is part of the North Snohomish League, is a natural with a baseball and has been playing since he was 3 years old.
“He’s got an arm on him, since he was a little one,” his mom said.
Caleb’s not the only one in the family with an affinity for the sport. His mom and aunt both played Little League softball when they were kids, too.
Caleb said he will be going into the third grade at Emerson Elementary and proudly stated that he’s “almost a home run hitter.” He said he practices at home with the ball that he pitched at the AquaSox game that he got to keep for his own.
Caleb said the New York Yankees is his favorite baseball team, while his mom discreetly added that that might have something to do with the Mariners’ beloved Ichiro Suzuki getting traded to the team recently.
“The Mariners are my favorite, too,” Caleb added.