A Very Special Father’s Day in Indianapolis
Submitted by John DeCosta, Indiana Arrows manager
Riley Mertl and Jackson Ballentine are second generation Arrows now playing in the Indiana Baseball League in the 18-over national division. Eric Mertl has been a part-time Arrow numerous times over the years, dating back to when Riley was about two feet tall the first time he came to an Arrows game. He’s now 6’6″!
Brady Ballentine founded the Arrows in 1994 and drafted me as a 48-year-old first baseman. I took over the team when he moved back to California in 1996. Brady moved back to Indy last year and rejoined the team so he could play with his son.
Riley was the starting pitcher in game one of our double-header while his dad caught him and chipped in with an RBI single facing a pitcher half his age.
The Arrows split the doubleheader, but on this special Father’s Day the scores weren’t important. What was important was fathers and sons carrying on a baseball tradition. Most players stay with the game because of the influence from their fathers, but very few ever have the opportunity to actually play with them. I’m happy that we were able to provide this opportunity to the Mertls and Ballentines.