NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Newtown, Conn., was the scene of a horrific school shooting last year, but on Sunday, a group of middle school students from the town experienced something dreams are made of.
As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, a chance to play on Citi Field is a dream for any baseball fanatic. But the Newtown students got to do it with their middle school teammates – and actual Mets players.
“It was really great,” said Newtown student Jonathan Paes. “That’s all really I can say. It’s wonderful to be here.”
The day at the ballpark was complete with instructional drills run by some of the players themselves – Anthony Recker, Mike Baxter and Zack Wheeler.
“I was kind of nervous,” said Newtown eighth grader Dan Grosso.
“It was really fun — I was kind of amazed that I was here with celebrities,” said Newtown resident Jacob Duffy.
And while Jacob may be a bit starstruck, for the pros, it was the kids who really shined.
“It’s unspeakable stuff that happened,” Baxter said. “Anytime you can see kids that have been through so much come out and have fun, it definitely makes you feel good.”
For the many of the kids, this was a once in a lifetime experience — getting up close access on the field and in the bullpen, for memories they won’t soon forget.
“I hope to save the picture and show my kids and grandkids, ‘Hey, I met Mets players,’” said Matt Kudler.
“The parents and the children really go through a lot, and this really does help to heal a little bit,” said Newtown baseball coach Bob Elias.
The boys walked away with smiles and some strategies for the season.
“I got one of them to fix my hitting stance, and I’m not really a pitcher, and one of the guys taught me how to pitch,” Jacob said.
And the Mets themselves were left impressed.
“They got some ball players – I’ll tell you that,” Baxter said.
After the baseball clinic that was presented by the Mets and Citi Bank, the Newtown players and their families got free seats for the game. The Mets beat the Miami Marlins 1-0 in 12 innings.
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