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    Emotional ELB Pony League Season Opener As Mustang League Coach Ron Percy Returns, Throws Ceremonial First Pitch

    Coach Percy 2/28/04(March 1, 2004) -- Several hundred young people and their parents, plus coaches, well-wishers and baseball fans gathered at Heartwell Park on Feb. 28, 2004 for an emotion-packed opening to the 2004 ELB Pony League baseball season.

    The event featured the return of admired Mustang League Coach Ron Percy, making a courageous revovery from a terrible traffic accident last year.

    Roughly three hundred uniformed Pony League team members took the field, and a like number of relatives and friends packed bleachers and clung to surrounding fences, as ELB Pony League Board President Dave Sanders praised Coach Percy.

    Coach Percy Feb 28/04

    Mr. Sanders quoted 19th century author Oliver Wendall Holmes in saying Coach Percy had shown that "what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

    He added that baseball great Hank Aaron's motto was "Keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was to keep swinging."

    Those attending included the ELB Pony League's Boardmembers...with sweat-shirted Scholarship Chair (and LBCC Trustee and retired 8th dist. LB Councilman) Jeff Kellogg among those present.

    Mr. Sanders thanked Coach Percy's family for permitting his supporters to share news of his recovery and cheer him on during the past difficult year.

    Coach Percy, Feb. 28/04Coach Percy strode onto the field. His two children walked alongside him.

    [Out of respect for the childrens' privacy, we've cropped or pixeled their photos.]

    Coach Percy, Feb. 28/04
    Photo courtesy Marc Merrill, ELB Pony League Player Agent
    Coach Percy took the pitcher's mound. His daughter watched next to him.

    His son, suited up in uniform for the day's game, went behind the plate as catcher.

    Coach Percy's mother observed with supporters on the sidelines.

    Coach Percy, Feb. 28/04Coach Percy threw the ceremonial first pitch.

    The ball slipped into his son's mitt.

    The crowd broke into cheers and sustained applause.

    Prior to the event, the ELB Pony League web site said the opening would show "what baseball in America is all about."

    Yes, it did.

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