Dad gets goose bumps watching son pitch, hit and run at Kaufmann Stadium

By Kathleen Gier/MLB.com

KANSAS CITY-It’s a long road to the Pitch, Hit and Run Kansas City championship (held June 8) but for 8-year-old Joel Dutton from Elk City, Kan., it felt even longer.

Not only did Dutton have to make it through his local event and sectional like the other 24 kids, but his father, Tod, had to host the first round in Fredonia, Kan.

“We’ve gone to other places to do the Pitch, Hit and Run and we didn’t have it in our town where I teach and they go to school, so I was the one that put it on this year,” Tod Dutton said. “It was raining and nasty, but we had more than 20 kids come.”

The Duttons have a field set up in a pasture that used to hold horses. Tod Dutton built a backstop out of a metal A-frame, a couple steel posts and a tarp so that when Joel and his brother, John, pitch to each other, the ball doesn’t go flying off in the Kansas wind. They call it the “Field of Dreams”.

Tod Dutton is a special education teacher at the local high school where he is also hoping to start a baseball program so his kids can continue to play as they grow up.

Joel Dutton finished second in the 7-8-year-old boys age division and won’t be moving on, but the family might be leaving with something even better. They are now exploring options to obtain equipment for the high school team through Royals broadcaster Ryan LeFebvre’s Gloves for Kids program.

For now, just seeing his son out on the field is good enough for Tod Dutton.

“It gave us goose bumps, this is awesome,” he said. “I’ve been coming here since 1975 or 1976 to Royals games and to see my son actually go out there and play catch in the outfield, I’ve still got goose bumps.”

Joel Dutton said he hopes to come back to Kauffman Stadium and play for the Royals some day.

The Kansas City participants and their families received tickets to the Royals’ game the evening of June 8 and the winners from each age group were recognized on the field before the game.

Tod Dutton and his wife Dr. Ann Pierce-Dutton are former Osage County residents. Tod is a special education teacher, who was a student teacher at Lyndon USD 421 and was Lyndon Middle School basketball coach from 1992 to 1995. He also taught at Santa Fe Trail USD 434 from 1997 to 2000, during which time he was assistant high school football coach, middle school wrestling coach, and high school baseball coach. Ann is the daughter of Clyde and Ardis Ann Diehl and the late James D. “Jim” Pierce. She was formerly a veterinarian at Lyndon Veterinary Clinic, and is now employed as faculty and administrator at Independence Community College Vet Tech program in Independence. They have lived in the Elk City area since 2000.

To read the full story on MLB.com click here.

For more news about Royals Baseball visit http://royals.com/

Reprinted with permission.

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