Video: This is a first pitch to remember

Zach Mezger is not your typical Indiana baseball fan. The Bloomington High School North student is known as the “No. 1 IU baseball fan,” is a close friend with head coach Tracy Smith’s family, and has delivered a couple postgame speeches. Sunday, he had the honor of throwing out the first pitch in the Hoosiers’ inaugural home finale at Bart Kaufman Field.

And what a scene it was. Kneeling, Mezger, who has cerebral palsy, threw the pitch from about 30 feet. The toss was pretty good, too, as the southpaw sent a high heater to catcher and friend Casey Smith, the coach’s son.

Mezger looked like a natural out there, from the way he gripped the ball behind his back to how he peered in to the catcher for the sign.

To the surprise of no one, the Indiana faithful loved the first pitch. So did the Hoosiers, who were standing and clapping the whole time and had fist bumps awaiting Mezger outside the dugout.

Like Jack Hoffman’s touchdown run in last month’s Nebraska spring game, this is the kind of thing that makes sports so great.

About Brent Yarina BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.

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Kelly Mezger on 5/12/2013 @ 7:58pm EDT Said:

I’m Zach’s mom, and have to say that Head Coach Tracy Smith, staff and players are simply amazing! They just ‘GET IT’ and know that when you walk off the field it was just a game, but when moments like this happen they LAST A LIFETIME! Hoosier Nation simply is the BEST!

Diana McGovern on 5/12/2013 @ 8:40pm EDT Said:

We were happy to see Zac throw out the first pitch. He threw that ball hard too! Way to go Zac. The IU Baseball team is truly special.

Greg Balfany on 5/12/2013 @ 10:26pm EDT Said:

That was amazing. Wish I could have seen that when IU was in Lincoln… A special moment.

ukeone on 5/13/2013 @ 12:53am EDT Said:

This is just ‘totally cool’ in every way. It shows that there really are ‘classy’ people out there in sports-land. I love it! This big fan of Husker nation says “thank you” to Hoosier Nation for granting this great and wonderful gesture to the ‘#1 fan of Indiana University.’ WOW…What an honor and great memory he will have. I wish Zach all the very best with God’s abundant blessings!

RUTBAY on 5/13/2013 @ 7:03pm EDT Said:

This was linked on a Rutgers football fan sight and I just wanted to say it is a pleasure to be associated with the B1G for this very reason. It is clear that the conference as a whole and specifically IU “gets it” as Zac’s mom said above. We look forward to playing Zac’s favorite team very soon. Congrats Zac and way to show us how it’s done.

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