A moment to remember

Mark Schellinger

Sometimes, there are moments that transcend games, even big games.

It happened Sunday in the third game of the North-South All-Stars in Madison, when North manager Dillion Weldy, a cancer survivor, came into the game as a pinch runner.

"That's what the games are about, making memories," said New Prairie coach Mark Schellinger, a North assistant for the series who helped faciliate Weldy's experience. "It's a weekend I'll never forget. Guys will look back a year from now, playing college ball, playing pro ball, and they'll all remember how (Weldy) got to play in that game. They're going to have those stories."

Weldy managed three sports (soccer, basketball and baseball) at NorthWood, and he made an immediate impression with Schellinger when the two met.

"He's just a great kid," Schellinger said. "He came up to me and said, 'coach, what can I do for you?' He was willing to do whatever was asked, whatever needed done. He did a lot of side jobs. You could tell he fit right in with the players."

Saturday night, after the first two games, the conversation started to go around the dorm on the idea of letting Weldy get on the bases and experience some game action.

"The others coaches were coming up to me, they said guys were asking them if he could pinch run," Schellinger said. "I told we'd already talked about it and I thought it was a great idea."

On Sunday, Schellinger gave Weldy the heads up to be ready to get in and and Mishawaka pitcher Grant Jablonski even gave Weldy his spikes to use. With the North up 8-4 in the eighth inning, Weldy got his signal, checking in at second base.

"He was all excited, the players were excited," Schellinger said. "I didn't realize it was the first time he'd been in a game, and it was at an all-star game. When he came off, the other guys came out and gave him high fives, It was pretty cool, just seeing the way he reacted and the guys' reaction. That was bigger than the game, bigger than the score. It didn't matter what happened the rest of the game."

New Prairie's Hunter Robinson and South Central's Kyle Schmack were both glad to be a part of it.

"Honestly, a very heart-warming moment," Robinson said. "He was a very nice guy and he was so excited that morning when coach told him he'd be pinch running. When coach finally called time and told him he was going in, he had a huge smile on his face and sprinted to second base."

"He was a really nice kid," Schmack said. "Very tough and outgoing. You could tell that everyone had no problem talking to him and I was very glad I got to witness his first ever in-game experience."

Weldy will continue his manager role at IU-East in Richmond, where he will receive a partial scholarship to be a part of the men's basketball program.

"I had to find some cleats and a helmet that fit me,'' Weldy told the Elkhart Truth. "But I was obviously very excited for the opportunity coach Schellinger gave me. I just told him I couldn't slide or dive. I really didn't have much to say about it, but I was thankful for the opportunity.''

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