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After beating cancer, Baytown boy inspires youth baseball teams

The Baytown Misfits practiced Friday and on that team is Ryan Irwin, who just got cleared to play last fall after beating cancer.

BAYTOWN, Texas — Sports can teach kids some valuable skills but none is more important than how they treat one another.

The life lesson has touched a lot of kids, coaches and parents in two Houston communities who were opponents during a recent baseball tournament.

Despite losing that tournament the Baytown Misfits came out champions thanks to the kindness of their rivals.]

For example, the Misfits know practice makes perfect.

With every swing, hit or catch the team is getting better.

Ryan Irwin has earned his spot on the competitive team even though he’s new to the game. 

“I just like it because it’s sporty, and fun,” Ryan said. “It’s about having fun. It’s a lot of running. It’s exercise. It’s good for your body.”

However, Ryan hasn’t always been able to play.

He finally got cleared last year after battling leukemia since 2011.

“I was happy and I was finally able to have fun,” Ryan said.

Misfits manager Joseph Franco calls his strength on and off the field inspiring.

“Going through his situation he is a very strong person inside. He’s been through a lot. He knows what it takes to fight," Franco said.

That fight caught the attention of the Katy TWELVE team who beat the Misfits last weekend during a tournament.

They heard about Ryan’s story and dedicated winning the tournament to Ryan and his teammates.

The TWELVE gave the team their winning rings and Ryan the championship belt.

“So when they get treated in such a way in the way they did it just meant the world to me,” Franco said. 

It’s a life lesson that teaches these kids there’s more to baseball and in life than winning or losing.

Ryan is just happy getting a chance to play the game.

“Probably the main thing that I think of is having fun in a game. Don’t worry about losing. It’s just about having fun,” Ryan said.

The Misfits gave the Katy TWELVE team gold ribbons to wear on their helmets that say ‘Team Ryan Survived’.

They hope it teaches them that not everyone gets a chance to play ball.


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