By Sheri Duff
The New York-Penn League’s Vermont Lake Monsters, in partnership with Northwestern Urgent Care, named 10-year-old Corey Wemple, of Shelburne, to the 2015 Little Lake Monsters Community All-Star team.
He was selected by a committee from hundreds of applications based on answers to three questions that focused on sportsmanship, living a healthy lifestyle, and community service. Wemple was one of nine winners selected and rewarded with an experience of a lifetime – to live the life of a professional baseball player for a day, Aug. 14.
The day-in-the-life experience included signing a one-day promotional baseball contract at a press conference, riding in a limousine from the press conference to Centennial Field, batting practice, throwing out a ceremonial first pitch at the night game, and sitting in the dugout with the team.
“It was really great to make new friends with the other kids on the All-Star team,” Wemple said. “The best part was throwing out the first pitch. But it was also really fun to hang out with the real players, especially my favorite Lake Monster player Bubba Derby, because they were all so nice. They really encouraged me during batting practice and throwing and catching in the outfield. Plus they gave me lots of tips.”
Wemple was born with spina bifida and has had 10 surgeries, making it harder for him to run as fast as the other kids. “I always try to do my best, even when I am really tired, so that at the end of the game I know that I helped the team as much as I could,” Wemple said.
Spina Bifida means split spine, according to the Spina Bifida Association. It happens when a baby is in the womb and the spinal column does not close all of the way. About 8 babies born in the United States have Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine every day.
When he’s not playing ball, Wemple enjoys family bike rides, swimming and kayaking. “We also grow vegetables in our garden,” he said. “Leading a healthy lifestyle is important so that you grow and stay healthy to do things you want to do like playing sports or hiking. It’s important to give back to the community and be a good sport because it helps make other people happy.”
Wemple’s All-Star teammates included Barret Barrows, Dakota Brink, Zander Clark, Joshua Lovejoy, Cayley Renaudette, Olivia Sanborn, Anson Seibert, and Lucas Templeton.
The Little Lake Monsters Community All-Stars program was created to get kids and families talking and thinking about important issues and life lessons, said Nate Cloutier, Lake Monsters’ Executive Director of Sales & Marketing. “Living a healthy lifestyle, being a good sport, and doing good things in your community are important values to our partner Northwestern Medical Center as well, so this promotion was a winner for everyone involved,” he said. “To see the smiles on these nine kids’ faces was truly what it was all about.”