Exeter High School student with Down syndrome given a ‘Field of Dreams’ experience this baseball season

Updated: May. 8, 2021 at 9:26 PM CDT
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EXETER, Mo. (KY3) - Anthony Cross is not your typical baseball player, but his love for the sport started early.

Cross is high school student in Exeter, Missouri with a Down syndrome diagnosis. Recently, he was given a chance to live out his dream of being on a baseball team.

”He spends hours watching baseball videos. You know, he just loves it,” Anthony’s grandmother Evelyn Cross said.

Exeter Baseball Coach, Matt Tripp asked Cross if he wanted to join the team after watching his eyes light up when other players received their jerseys at school.

”When coach asked him to play, I said, ‘Do you want to play baseball?,’ and, oh my gosh, he was just overwhelmed,” Cross said.

Evelyn said that one small question made the biggest impact on her grandson.

”When coach gave him the baseball hat, we found him asleep with the hat on. When he got the jersey, he wore it for two days before we could even take it off,” Cross said.

Coach Tripp said Anthony brings a new energy to the team.

”They have a great time spending with him, and I think it’s been a good learning experience for all of them involved. The assistant coaches, everyone just enjoys having Anthony around,” said coach Matt Tripp.

Cross’s charisma has gained the attention of opposing teams as well.

”Now everyone has learned he’s on our team, so they’ve come to look for him and enjoy all the energy he brings,“ Tripp said.

”He’ll always cheer for the other team, he’s just a good sport,” Cross said.

Two weeks ago he even hit his first home run.

”You can just see the joy in the videos and the pictures. He was just overwhelmed, he was so excited,” Cross said.

Tripp said he didn’t realize how impactful opening this door for Cross would be.

”Sometimes people don’t know what it is they’re missing. So if we don’t say, ‘hey, come try this,’ they might not get to experience it to see if they like it or not,” Tripp said.

“They’ve given him opportunities he’s never had before,” Cross said.

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