FARGO — Saturday night’s Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks-St. Paul Saints baseball game featured a local Make-a-wish kid, whose wish was granted when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Newman Outdoor Field.
In November of 2017, Oskar Binkard got a cold, but it didn’t go away, and after feeling pain in his leg, his parents, Dave and Sam, decided to take him to the walk-in clinic.
“They did the blood work and that is when they found out he had leukemia,” said Sam, Oskar’s mother.
Sam, who said Oskar was just a normal kid who was always healthy, stayed positive and teamed with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization the Binkard’s have always supported.
“They let us come to them when we were ready to work with them,” Sam said, adding that the wish-granting progress began back in February.
Saturday, that wish was fulfilled, when Oskar stepped out onto Newman Outdoor Field to throw out the first pitch before the Saints earned a 4-3 American Association victory against the RedHawks. After, Oskar was introduced and the crowd of 3,678 fans gave him a huge round of applause, an experience Oskar, and his parents won't forget.
“That was awesome,” said Dave, Oskar’s father.
As exciting as throwing out the first pitch was, Oskar seemed more enthused by the "Star Wars" characters that joined him out on the mound. Darth Vader and a stormtrooper accompanied Oskar and his family, from Fargo, all part of a "Star Wars" themed game night.
“He lives for Star Wars. He has been all over Darth Vader since he got here,” Sam said, adding that his very first words were, "Star Wars."
The Binkards couldn’t be happier with how the night went, and are thankful for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“Now that we actually have a Make-A-Wish kiddo, it's taken a whole new level for us. The things that they do for us is just outstanding,” Sam said.
Dave added that the opportunities within the community have been special.
“Meeting new people, spreading the word, of how great it is," Dave said.
After the first pitch, the Binkards enjoyed baseball on a beautiful night as the RedHawks battled the Saints for first place in the North Division.
John Silviano got things started for the Saints, belting a two-run home run that sailed over the right-center-field fence in the second inning.
The RedHawks were without a hit until Leo Pina cracked a double in the fourth inning, but F-M was unable to capitalize. Devan Ahart drove in Brennan Metzger in the bottom half of the sixth inning to get the RedHawks on the board, cutting the St. Paul lead to 4-1.
The RedHawks made it close in the ninth inning. A sacrifice fly from T.J Bennett drove in Chris Jacobs, and an infield hit from Michael Hope plated another run, but it wasn't enough for the RedHawks, which lost 4-3.
Silviano was 3-for-3 with three RBIs to lead the Saints.
The RedHawks (38-22) dropped their fourth game in a row. The Saints (39-21) won their third straight game to build a one-game lead over the RedHawks in the division race. The two teams will conclude their three-game series at 6 p.m. Sunday before the league's All-Star break. The American Association All-Star game is scheduled for Tuesday, July 23, in St. Paul.
Six RedHawks were selected to the game. Pina, Correlle Prime, Devan Ahart, Geoff Broussard, Sebastian Kessay and Bennett will represent the team at CHS Field.