A video of 12-year-old Brayden Gero recording the final out of the regular season for Parkway Little League has become a nationwide sensation over the last week after the Little Leaguer® struck out the final batter to earn his team a 13-11 victory and earn his first career save.
For most Little Leaguers, that moment may just seem like a great way to end the season, but for Brayden, the moment became a dream come true. Brayden was born with Down syndrome, but has never let his condition hold him back from playing the game of baseball. He has been a member of Parkway Little League since he was 5-years-old, starting in the league as a member of the Tee Ball program and has since worked his way through the ranks with his teammates and earned a spot on this year’s majors division team.
“Brayden has been playing baseball since he was five, and has been playing with the same group of kids all the way through,” said Jarrod Gero, Brayden’s father, who also played and coached in Parkway Little League. “He absolutely loves being on the team and everything about the game. His team has always looked out for him and always included him in everything, from practices and games to birthday parties.”
The moment that touched the hearts of millions came in the final game of the regular season as Brayden’s team came back from an 11-6 deficit in the top of the six to take a 13-11 lead into the final half of the inning. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Brayden got the call from his coach to come in and pitch to the final batter in hopes of securing the victory. After a few warm-ups, Brayden toed the mound and fired the ball home, striking out the final batter to earn the save and end his Little League career with a moment he would never forget. Brayden’s dad caught it all on video, and shared it with Little League International. Through Little League International’s social media accounts, millions have seen this inspirational Little League moment.
”What made it truly awesome was how they reacted after the final out was recorded. That’s what made the video, the sportsmanship displayed by both teams,” said Mr. Gero. “Believe it or not, the coaches didn’t tell them to do that. That was just the kids. They were just excited for him. It shows you what kind of kids they are and what the coaches in that league teach them all year.”
Since his early days playing as a kid, to his years of coaching, Parkway Little League has meant a lot to Brayden’s father, a Boston Police Officer who visited the White House with Brayden in 2014 as part of a ceremony honoring the officers for their heroic efforts during the Boston Marathon.
“Little League has always been a big part of our family,” said Mr. Gero. “I met my wife in this league, and her father was a past League President for a number of years. We’ve always been involved in this league. There are probably a thousand kids in the league this year, and Brayden probably knows 900 of them. It’s really been awesome.”