SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – The Spring Arbor University baseball program will welcome a new member to the team for its doubleheader Saturday against Indiana Wesleyan University at Hank Burbridge Field – 7-year-old Braden “Buddy” Miller.
Buddy will not only be in the dugout with the team for the contests, but will also be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the first game.
Buddy is the son of Jeni and Brad Miller, and has two sisters Alyssa and Alexis. Earlier this year, the Millers were given the news that Buddy had Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma – an inoperable tumor that is embedded in the nerves that feed into the Pons area of the brain.
Sophomore third baseman Chris Triplett’s mother worked with Jeni, and immediately after the diagnosis the Tripletts began praying for Buddy and his family. Head coach Ryan Marken and the SAU baseball program quickly began praying for Buddy as well and a few of the players met with Buddy and his family after one of his radiation treatments, and a connection was born.
“Buddy is an inspiring young boy,” said Marken. “To be faced with this kind of challenge and attack it head on with his unwavering attitude is something we should all take note of. He has had a deep and lasting impact on a lot of the young men on our team. I’ve watched grown men break down in my office talking about Buddy and how he lives his life despite this awful disease. It really puts things into perspective. At the end of the day though, the coolest part is that Buddy knows Jesus. He knows about a miraculous powerful God. A God who heals. And right now we are praying with and for them for a miracle. This boy has and will continue to touch the lives of everyone around him.”
In honor of Buddy joining the Cougars Saturday, the team will be hosting Team Buddy Day. Marken and his staff will officially sign Buddy to a letter of intent and he will be given his own locker and jersey.
“We are thrilled to sign Buddy to play baseball at Spring Arbor University,” commented Marken. “He demonstrates everything we look for in our athletes. A great attitude and a love for those around him. This is our biggest commitment in our recruiting class yet!”
There will also be a free-will offering where all proceeds will be going to the Miller family to assist them with seeking the treatments that will help Buddy and their family in the fight against DIPG.
The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Wildcats is set for 1 p.m.