Sports

Colton Wilson receives his letterman jacket

It was enough to make a grown man cry.

And a few did as Colton Wilson was brought out to home plate at Falcon Field Wednesday to be honored for a selfless act of generosity.

The occasion was the annual tribute to the baseball team’s seniors — Robert Young, Patrick Smith, Danny Parra, Lakota Holder, Jason Shoudy, Paul Saelens, Nick Davis and Joey Smith — prior to the second of three games with Cedarcrest.

Last summer Wilson was diagnosed with a virulent form of cancer that affected his leg and resulted in a difficult year of chemotherapy and withdrawal from classes at South Whidbey High School.

All that and no baseball, the sport he loves.

But with a ton of community support and a lot of love Wilson fought back, taking on-line courses with a laptop computer bought by generous donors, playing golf to strengthen his stamina and helping out his Falcon teammates at every home game.

At least when he wasn’t down at Children’s Hospital in Seattle.

Wilson’s father Todd recalled a conversation at the hospital one day where he first heard about the Make A Wish Foundation.

“We were told he was eligible and that he could ask for anything; a visit with a celebrity, a trip to Disneyland or a ride in a balloon,” he said.

“The first thing Colton said was, ‘I wish we could fix up the baseball field at the school.’”

Falcon Coach Dave Guetlin was one of the first to find out about the wish being granted.

“He came to our door with a smile and tears in his eyes,” Lana Wilson said. “He told us the Make A Wish people were knocked out by Colton’s unselfish gesture, that he was a special young man.”

With volunteer help and donations, the new bleachers, paving, batting cages and bullpen will be ready by June 15.

On Monday, Guetlin told the Cedarcrest coach about the ceremony and he passed it on to some of the team’s parents.

Robin Woelz from Duvall organized a mini-fundraising effort.

“In just two days we were able to gather about $400 to help make Colton’s wish come true,” she said.

After giving Wilson an autographed copy of Cal Ripken’s life story, Guetlin and Assistant Coach Tom Fallon presented him with a letterman jacket. He then threw out the first pitch to Falcon catcher Parra.

“I didn’t expect this, that’s for sure,” Colton said later. “I had a feeling something was going on but I thought it was all about the seniors.”

The next day, Wilson began physical therapy and his prognosis is good. He’s started a stretching regimen and hopes to finish out the last month going to class.

“I want to get back into it and play Falcon baseball next year,” he said.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-53000 or sports@south

whidbeyrecord.com.

Community Events, April 2014

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