Two college teams joined together to make a young cancer patient's dream come true
Saturday's game between the University of New Mexico and Air Force was about something far bigger than baseball. It was a celebration of Lio Ortega, a four-year-old boy suffering from medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer.
Ortega's father, Manny, played for New Mexico head coach Ray Birmingham in junior college, and the two have stayed in touch in the years since. The Ortegas often take in Air Force games when the Lobos come to town, and in the leadup to Saturday, Birmingham approached Air Force coach Mike Kazlausky about giving young Lio a day he'd never forget.
Kazlausky, who lost his sister to the same disease, was more than happy to help, and the two teams pulled out all the stops: Lio threw out the first pitch, got to meet the live falcons that serve as Air Force's mascots during games and even received a signed baseball. The cherry on top, however, came later, when Lio got to experience the thrill of hitting a home run:
We're not crying, you're crying.