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Courage, Sportsmanship on Display at Florence Travel Ball Tournament




After a recent USSSA youth baseball tournament at Freedom Florence, a very unique act of sportsmanship took place.  After his team, the Carolina Bruins, clinched the tournament championship and celebrated with a ring ceremony, Bryce Patterson ran over to one of his opponents.  Were they friends?  Relatives?  Former teammates?  Actually, they were none of the above.  The two had never even spoken before.  Patterson removed his championship ring and handed it to his opponent.  In any circumstance, this would be an unexpected act.  In any circumstance, this would be seen as a great display of sportsmanship.  In this case, there was more at play than baseball. Asher Wallace, who Patterson gave his ring, is an outfielder for the Pee Dee Padres.  Wallace’s play did not go unnoticed by Patterson.   Not because he hit towering home runs or made diving catches in the outfield.  Patterson thought Wallace’s play was spectacular because he was giving it his all on every single pitch.  But, what made Patterson take notice of Wallace?  Don’t lots of kids play hard? Wallace has NF1 Neurofibromatosis. This is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow in the nervous system.   Of course, Patterson didn’t know the details of Wallace’s disorder.  He just knew the kid with the distinct running style didn’t let that stop him from pursuing his dream of playing baseball. Wallace’s hard work was first noticed by his coaches Joseph Winburn, Terry Weekley and Bruce Douglas.  “Asher’s work ethic and passion are unparalleled,” said Douglas.  “He’s been an inspiration for his teammates and coaches since the day he joined the team.  It’s great to see his enthusiasm and hard work inspire players on other teams also.  Bryce and Asher are both very special kids.”    Both players had their share of successes at the tournament.  After winning the tournament, Bryce and the Bruins moved into the #1 spot in USSSA’s 9U national rankings.  For Wallace, he stole his first base in another heartwarming moment against the Carolina Outlaws.      As both teams move on with their seasons, there’s no guarantee that Wallace and Patterson will square off on the field again.  But, there is one thing we all know for sure:  Wallace has the heart of a champion.  And, now, thanks to Patterson, a ring to match.    Bryce Patterson is the son of Brantley and Angie Patterson of Florence.  Asher Wallace is the son of Larry and Pam Wallace of Hartsville.










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