Teen with genetic disorder given first at-bat in softball game, hits home run

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Grace Hughes has Fragile X syndrome -- a genetic disorder causing intellectual disability. But that hasn’t stopped the 15-year-old from being an important part of her softball team in Pennsylvania.

"I knew she couldn't really play on a typical softball team like her sisters do and she always wanted to do that," her mom, Rachel Hughes, told FOX 29.

As Neshaminy High School’s varsity team manager, she proudly cheers for her teammates off the field. But an agreement with their opponents in the final inning of a game gave Grace a chance to do something she’s been dreaming of -- Joining her teammates on the field. 

Grace stepped up to the plate, and her hit was a home run. 

“Once I hit that ball, I immediately ran to first base, immediately ran to second base, immediately ran. All the girls came out. Tapped on my helmet. It was awesome,” said Grace. 

Her coach, Dave Chichilitti, is a special-ed teacher, and knows firsthand what the moment means for everyone involved. “Acceptance should be upon everyone, no matter what the disability is, that everyone should be accepting.” 

For Grace, it was more than a moment. “Knowing that I can hit a ball. It’s an honor,” she said. 

All because of great teammates, and even better friends. 

“They are nice. They are kind, They are not mean to me. They make me a better person.”

 

Watch the video to see the home run of acceptance. 

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