A young baseball player stepped up to the plate during a Little League game to find the opposition’s pitching change bring his military dad to the mound after 10 months apart.
Emotional Ryan, aged nine, immediately ran into the arms of his father, Staff Sergeant Steve Batista, 35, who he had not seen for months – and there was not a dry eye in the house.
Steve, from Passiac County, New Jersey, had been deployed in Afghanistan for almost a year, and so he and his wife, Jillian, 36, were determined to give Ryan a surprise he wouldn’t forget.
Having greeted Steve with their daughter, Eden, aged two, on May 11, Jillian and her husband were later escorted to the game by the local Lyndhurst Police Department.
With Ryan in the batter’s box, his coach distracted him while Steve was led onto the field.
From there, a fellow mom made the announcement and then, having initially been slightly confused, Ryan realized who was standing in front of him.
Steve has been a Marine since 2004 and was deployed to Afghanistan in September 2018.
Speaking of the surprise, Jillian said: “As a mother, seeing my children reunite with their father, was worth all the sweat and tears that the 10 months brought.
“Knowing that we have made it through and he was home and safe meant the world to me, and I am forever grateful.
“The entire town, family and friends near and far have shown so much love and support, we are just incredibly thankful.
“I hope our video helps other military families that are separated to hold on and keep pushing through each day, each struggle, each heartache – because the day will come when you will be together again.”
(Story courtesy of T&T Creative Media)