Cavaliers make stop to support young 'teammate'

WAYNESBORO, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Parker Staples has been a regular on the field at Disharoon Park before Virginia baseball games this season. The 10-year-old could typically be spotted playing catch with one of the Cavaliers, or bouncing a ball off the brick wall behind home plate.

On Wednesday, it was Staples who got a home game, with the Wahoos paying him a visit. The team bus made a detour on its way to Blacksburg to visit Hugh K. Cassell Elementary near Waynesboro, where Staples is a fourth grader.

"It means a lot. It's very cool," Staples said of the Cavaliers' visit. "I'm just very thankful for that, to have a team that would do that for me. I'm very lucky to have a team who would come all the way over here just for me."

UVA's stop at the school coincided with 'career day' at Cassell Elementary. Players and coaches were greeted by "U-V-A! Go 'Hoos go!" chants as they entered the school's gym for an assembly led by head coach Brian O'Connor.

O'Connor talked to the students about the importance being a good teammate, in the classroom and other aspects of life. UVA senior pitcher Chesdin Harrington talked briefly about working hard and setting goals. Other players took part in a question-and-answer session with some students.

The students were willing participants throughout the assembly -- but the biggest cheers were saved for Staples, who sat proudly next to Harrington throughout the event. Staples, who was diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2017, 'signed' with the UVA baseball program last spring through Team Impact.

"You can hear kind of all this chatter going on over here," Harrington said, referring to another "UVA!" chant from the crowd as the Wahoos left the gym. "It's awesome to support Parker outside of our team, and go out and support him in his arena too. Because he comes out, he's at all the practices, all the games. And coming out and seeing the support that we're getting from this school and Parker's friends really means a lot."

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