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Dennis has Mother's Day to remember

Honorary Bat Girl for Indians throws first pitch at Progressive Field
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- When Alecia Dennis learned she had won the 2015 Honorary Bat Girl Contest for the Cleveland Indians, she was speechless.

When she learned she'd be throwing out the first pitch on Mother's Day, she became nervous.

Full Game Coverage

CLEVELAND -- When Alecia Dennis learned she had won the 2015 Honorary Bat Girl Contest for the Cleveland Indians, she was speechless.

When she learned she'd be throwing out the first pitch on Mother's Day, she became nervous.

Full Game Coverage

"What if I bounce it?"

Dennis, 26, was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2014. A lumpectomy followed in November. Chemo started on Mondays -- the same day she takes classes at Capital University, where she's working on her MBA. All the while, she and her husband of nearly three years -- Colin -- raise their 1 1/2-year-old son, Kolton.

"It's kept me sane," Alecia said. "I don't have time to sit around and feel sorry for myself. This sucks. It sucks when you're 26, it sucks when you're 46, it sucks when you're 86. I'm not the only person in the world going through this, and being able to work and have my son and focus on taking care of him and doing my homework really helped make me not feel sorry for myself and realize that it happens. There's nothing I can do about it besides work through it. I'm a fighter. I made it out alive."

With all that on her plate, she worried about bouncing the first pitch.

Tweet from @Indians: A great first pitch from our Honorary Bat Girl, Alecia Dennis, who's battling breast cancer! https://t.co/fegZtP1E3y

Five years ago, Alecia and Colin met at the University of Mount Union, where she earned her bachelor's degree. She served as his orientation leader. On May 25, they'll celebrate their three-year wedding anniversary.

Colin is the one who sent in Alecia's submission for the Honorary Bat Girl Contest. In the essay, he called her "the most courageous woman he knows."

"If there is a stronger woman out there, I have not met her," Colin wrote. "She truly is an amazing woman who can take anything that is thrown at her. I am just lucky she keeps me around for the ride."

When Alecia read the letter, she cried.

"Just knowing that I have the support of him and obviously my son and my family meant a lot to me," she said. "They're the reason I was able to do all of this -- to be able to go through school and treatment and still work. Just with all of their help, it made it worthwhile. I had something to fight for."

Still fretting over the first pitch, Alecia played in a softball game a week prior to the big event, tuning up her skills. She'd been playing catch daily.

Turns out, there was no reason to worry. She walked out on the field confident in front of more than 13,000 fans at Progressive Field. She looked in to the catcher and started her delivery. She played it perfectly.

Strike.

Just like in her fight against cancer, Alecia was in complete control out on the mound.

For Kolton, Sunday was his first baseball experience. They're confident they have a fan for life. For Alecia, her most recent semester at grad school wrapped up on April 16. Chemo came to a close on April 27. The master's degree is just four semesters away. The ugly is in the rearview mirror. The future is bright.

"This is hands down the best Mother's Day," Alecia said. "I don't think I'll be able to top this Mother's Day."

August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

 

Cleveland Indians