Parker Staples at the heart of Nationals' World Series run

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- The first ever NLCS game in the history of Nationals Park and 10-year-old Parker Staples is on the mound.

"Before they didn't tell me I was going to throw out the first pitch, they just said they have role for me," Staples said.

Parker was living a dream, throwing out the first pitch before his beloved Nationals took the field in game three of the NLCS in an 8-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

"Most people can't even get seats there and yet I got to throw out the first pitch," Staples said, "Felt very special that they invited me."

A lifelong Nationals fan, Parker used the team as motivation during his battle with Burkitt's lymphoma more than a year ago. Staples signed with the UVA baseball team in the Spring of 2018 through Team Impact. Parker has spent time with the Cavaliers during practices, before games and other team functions.

In May, Parker got a chance to spend a day with the Nationals spending his Make-A-Wish day with the team, even throwing out the first pitch then. So his latest trip was like visiting old friends.

"I know some of the players, most of the players, so I was standing on the field they came up and said hey," Staples said, who really connected with outfielder Adam Eaton and pitcher Sean Doolittle, "It was like familiar, familiar faces. It was just kind of like home."

On May 24th, the day of Parker's visit, the Nationals sat at a dismal 19-31.

"I had a lot of hope in them. I was like come on, come on," Staples said, an eternal optimist when it comes to the Nationals, "Everyone else was saying probably not."

But since then, like a Hollywood script, the Nationals own baseball's best record at 82-40, including the playoffs. So of course Parker was the only one who could throw out that first pitch.

"Felt very special and very important," Staples said, "Just I was very happy and grateful."

Parker's cancer has been in remission, and the next win he wants to see is his Nationals in the World Series.

"They're going to win a World Series," Parker said, "They got a lot of potential in that team, I just have a lot of hope in that team and I think they're a really good team."



 
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