For just a couple hours, Frontier senior Carson Timmons was able to take his mind away from the tragedy that's engulfed his life.
Timmons’ mother, Megan Gustafson, in her mid-30s, is in hospice care with friends and family by her side. Her son, meanwhile, was with his second family on the baseball field Friday in a Southwest Yosemite League home game against Liberty.
The Titans rallied around Timmons.
All of the players had “MG21” written on their ball caps.
Timmons took a knee on the grass as teammate Kris Anglin consoled him before first pitch.
Then with tears rolling down his face, Timmons sat in the dugout and watched Austin Puskaric pitch a gem through six innings. Garrett Pavletich’s 3-run double for Liberty tied the score 3-3 with two outs in the top of the seventh, however.
Frontier coach Garrett White called on Timmons to come in. He threw one pitch — a groundout by Andrew Yoder to shortstop — to end the inning and Timmons let out a primal scream of raw emotion.
Then Tyler Weiner’s walk-off single sealed the 4-3 victory in the bottom-half of the inning for the Titans with Timmons taking the win.
Once he left the ballpark Timmons said he knew this might be the final night with his mom, who is suffering from stage-4 colon cancer.
“That whole game was for my mom,” Timmons said. “It just means so much for that one pitch to benefit the team.”
White said he was at odds with himself throughout the game. He wanted to get Timmons in, but with Puskaric — who had to be pulled in the seventh after reaching the 110-pitch count limit — throwing a shutout against a hard-hitting Liberty (15-4, 7-2) team, it was hard to pull the senior from the mound.
“I was kicking myself with what I was going to do in the seventh inning,” White said. “With Austin throwing such a gem, I couldn’t take him out. I was trying to find a way for Carson be a factor somehow. It’s fate’s way of providing the opportunity.”
Frontier scored a run in the first, third and fifth innings to take a 3-0 lead.
Leadoff hitter Brock Calvillo singled and scored off an RBI single by Kobe Silva in the first. Calvillo scored again in the fifth after singling and scoring following Weiner's walk with the bases loaded. Calvillo had two stolen bases and Weiner had two RBIs for the Titans (12-6, 5-4).
The crowd gave Timmons a standing ovation as he came to the mound in the seventh, and then again as he exited.
“(Timmons) threw a one-pitch out and gets us out of a big jam and we come out and were able to scratch a run across to get the win. And he gets the W,” White said. “You can’t write this stuff. It was a cloudy, overcast and quiet day and it ends as a happy one with the sun out.”
Once the field is raked and cleared, reality will come back. But for just that small window, however, Timmons and the Titans got some relief.
“I am not lost of what he has in front of him,” White said. “But for the moment, it’s a little bit of a break to get him out of there and out with his friends and have a positive memory that he will remember forever.”
Added Timmons: “These past couple of weeks, it’s been tough to take my mind off my mom and how she has been. Just coming here clears (my head) a lot. Just knowing that my teammates have my back helps. It just means so much to me to be here and be myself again … I get to go see her one last time.”