COAL CITY, WV (WVNS) — Joshua Ward started playing baseball right after his fifth birthday and for the last 13 years, it has been his life. Joshua spent his first year of high school at Shady Spring, and spent the last three at Independence High School. The Patriots quickly became his family.
“They just, you play baseball, you are part of our family, welcome,” Joshua said.
As a mother, starting your child at a new school can cause reservations and nervousness. However, the Wards said the Patriot family was more than accepting. Joshuas’ first day of practice is a day his mother, Susan Ward, will never forget.
“He got out of the car that morning with his baseball gear to go into the school with his bag on his back and everything,” Susan said. “All the guys came up to him in the parking lot and they all walked in together, and I literally broke down and cried in the car.”
Not being able to finish what he started 13 years ago was not just hard on him. It was a burden carried by his entire family.
“It is a great loss. It is almost like a part of our family is gone,” Susan said.
Between little league, travel ball, and high school, he formed bonds with players that will be lifelong friends.
“Just friendships that have come out of it, kids I have known since I was five and played my entire life with,” Joshua said. “Just lifelong friends based off a love for a game.”
The friendships are not the only thing with which Joshua is leaving the diamond. He said the lessons he learned from the sport over the years are something he will take with him.
“Always try your hardest, when you think you are giving enough, give more,” Joshua said.