8-year-old baseball player honored after surgery

Haven Irvine will throw the first pitch at championship game Saturday.

After undergoing successful surgery to remove a brain tumor, Irvine will throw out the first pitch at the Fairfield Youth Baseball Association’s Cal Ripken League championship game at 1 p.m. at Waterworks Park.

“My heart goes out to this boy and his family,” said Jim Herrmann, Irvine’s coach in the Coach Pitch division of FYBA who helped organize Friday’s tribute.

“Sometimes I just want people to know there is more support and caring than they might be expecting,” Herrmann continued. “You know, bring something positive that they might remember more than just the difficult circumstance they find themselves in.”

Irvine started to experience seizures in January, and they got progressively worse until he went in for an MRI in March.

“It was scary,” he said.

Doctors found the tumor, and because it wasn’t cancerous they wanted to get the seizures under control before operating. But that involved trial and error with various medications.

“That was a nightmare,” said Chuck Irvine, Haven’s grandfather. “We went through several different ones. Some caused bad rashes, others made him psychotic. He was angry, aggressive, irrational, crying and screaming. It was horrible.”

Finally the seizures stopped and Haven underwent surgery May 19, a few days after his 8th birthday. Monday he received clearance to start swimming again.

Eventually Haven will be able to play all of the sports he loves except football.

“He’s really excited to get back outside and start playing again,” said Terri Irvine, Haven’s step-grandmother.

Friday night Haven will get to emulate his favorite Reds player, Bronson Arroyo, by standing on the mound and throwing a pitch.

“We’re also going to present him with an All-Star jersey with his name on the back and an All-Star hat,” said Bill Jarvis, the age-group director for FYBA’s Coach Pitch division. “He didn’t get to play this season, but we believe he’s an all-star in life.”

Contact this reporter at (513) 820-2193 or jmorrison@coxohio.com.

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