This past June, ahead of a game between the Washington Nationals and Texas Rangers, Bryce Harper got behind the plate to catch the ceremonial first pitch. The pitcher was seven-year-old and fellow Las Vegan Hailey Dawson.
What was special was that Dawson, who was born with Poland Syndrome, a rare birth defect that caused her to be born without three fingers on her right hand, delivered a strike with the help of a 3-D printed hand, which was developed by engineering students at UNLV and controlled with fishing line.
Hailey Dawson, a 7-year-old pitching prospect and your new personal hero, threw out yesterday’s 1st pitch with her 3D-printed robotic hand! pic.twitter.com/wCL9xHRt1O
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 12, 2017
Since teaching herself how to play baseball, Dawson has met some of her favorite players, including Harper and Kris Bryant, another Las Vegas native, while embarking on a mission: to throw out the first pitch at all 30 Major League Baseball ballparks while raising awareness about Poland Syndrome.
She started her journey two years ago with the school that developed the prosthetic she uses to pitch, the UNLV Rebels.
Since then, she has thrown first pitches at a Baltimore Orioles game (to another one of her favorite players Manny Machado), followed by the Nationals game this past summer.
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But that number looks like it will be growing in the near future.
Yesterday, Bleacher Report posted a video telling Dawson’s story on Twitter, with MLB teams taking notice and sending in requests to host her at a game.
The video can be watched here:
7-year-old Hailey Dawson wants to throw out the first pitch at every MLB ballpark with her 3-D printed hand pic.twitter.com/onStqhEzyB
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 7, 2017
We’d LOVE to have Hailey at CBP!
Can you please DM us her information so we can reach out?
— Phillies (@Phillies) September 7, 2017
Can you make it up to Minnesota, Hailey? DM us your info and we will make it happen!
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) September 7, 2017
Absolutely! Please DM us Hailey’s info. so we can get in touch with her.
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 7, 2017
If these mentions are any indication, with responses pouring in from teams such as the Minnesota Twins, Oakland A’s, Philadelphia Phillies, and even college teams including the Florida Gators, Dawson is off to a great start. As her journey expands, maybe we will see her throwing out pitches at NCAA Softball games or for the National Pro Fastpitch League as well.
Either way, there’s no doubt we will be seeing her at ballparks across the country very soon.