Student’s effort on the diamond draws cheers, support
Although last Friday’s (May 6) North High varsity home baseball game was an otherwise ordinary one for the Spartan sluggers, it was a very special experience for one Ben Franklin Middle School student.
Fourteen-year-old Lucas Hankel, who is a special education student at Ben Franklin Middle School, took to the diamond and dugout of North High as the team’s honorary bat boy for the evening’s contest against Sioux Falls Roosevelt. He was invited by North head coach Jeff Fiechtner, who is also the young man’s adaptive P.E. teacher. Lucas, who is known to those around him as an athletic, happy-go-lucky teenager who loves to help out, agreed.
So, dressed in full Spartan baseball uniform and a batting helmet, Lucas joined the team in the dugout. After some hesitation (and some proper encouragement from the coach), Lucas began retrieving bats during gameplay. His effort did not go unnoticed.
“I think Lucas may have been the only bat boy to have a whole section of the bleachers filled with people rooting for him,” said special education teacher Sheri Dennis, who attended the game, along with Lucas’s family and other members of the District’s special education staff.
The support was infectious, said Fiechtner, who observed members of both teams showing their visible support for Lucas’s contribution to the game. “He had an awesome night.”