Much more than a ballgame ...

The last home games of the 2018 season were special ones for the Lansing Mudcats Little League baseball and softball teams. The July 10 game for the baseball Mudcats (pictured at right) and the July 11 game for the Mudcats softball team (pictured below at right) were each dedicated to the memory of their teammate, classmate and friend, Austyn Seitz, the son of Tony and Becky Seitz of Lansing who passed away suddenly in July 2015 at the age of seven. The players came up with the idea on their own and approached their coaches about doing something during the season as a tribute to Austyn to honor his memory and recognize that he has not been forgotten by his peers. He would have completed fourth grade this past school year and this would have been his first year as a member of the Mudcats traveling baseball team, which fields a combined squad of fourth through seventh grade players.

With the help of a couple mothers of team members, the t-shirts the teams are pictured wearing in the adjacent photos were made, all of them with Austyn’s number and a “Fly High Austyn Seitz” message on the back (pictured directly below). The teams wore the shirts in those final home games that they played in Austyn’s honor. At each of the games, a short ceremony was also held that included the team along with Austyn’s parents and his older sister, Ashlyn. Game balls, signed by the team members, were presented to his family and the ceremonial first pitches for each game were thrown out by Austyn’s dad and his sister. Later that same July 10 evening of the Mudcats baseball team’s honoring of their teammate, the lights on the Black Hawk Bridge in Lansing were lit in honor of Austyn as well. Submitted photos.

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