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'Heart of our team' | Tomball Memorial HS baseball squad rallies around 15-year-old manager

Freshman Rylen Robbins tried out for the varsity team and didn't make the cut. But what happened next changed his life and the spirit of the team.

TOMBALL, Texas — For Rylen Robbins, baseball is life.

"He's always had a ball and a bat in his hand," his mother, Kimberly Robbins, said.

Ryeln has autism, but at 15 years old, he's pretty good at the game he loves.

"I like to play -- win or lose," Rylen said.

He didn't make the varsity squad at Tomball Memorial High School, but the coach brought him on as team manager.

"It brought tears to my eyes on a weekly basis," Kimberly said.

This entire season, Kimberly watched her son from the stands.

"He was just engulfed in the game, the enthusiasm that he had, and the guys were right there with him," Kimberly said. "Seeing all that touched me and made me feel like he had a place."

He found more than his place. He found a family -- a band of brothers.

"He's the heart of our team. Everyone shows up to play for him," teammate Colin said.

"He was our hype man from the get-go," teammate Cade said.

Rylen became a fixture on and off the baseball field.

"He's the first manager that's made an impact on Wildcat baseball," teammate Ashton said. "I've played four years and haven't had a manager like him."

And his growth through the season was impossible to ignore.

"From the beginning, he's opened up so much, you can see his true character," teammate Kade said. "It's just a blessing to have him around."

The season is now over, but the bond is unbroken. And for a mom who loves her son, that means everything.

"He's always struggled to have really good friends or have people he can rely on," Kimberly said. "These guys were there for him in all those ways."

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