A few weeks ago, the Sherwood Christian Academy family honored young Malachi Russell during a soccer match and retired the sixth grader’s soccer jersey for his fight against cancer. Thursday night Sherwood baseball honored Malachi by having him throw out the ceremonial first pitch in the Eagles’ game with Covenant Academy of Macon. The game was a Red-out as fans were encouraged to wear Sherwood red to honor Malachi and a portion of the ticket sales were to go to the Russell family. The event raised over $800.
Malachi was wheeled to the pitcher’s mound and he had no trouble getting the ball to the plate 90 yards away. “He’s got a rifle there,” his dad Roger said with a smile later on.
During the game, Malachi was seated right behind home plate with family and friends surrounding him throughout and seemed to enjoy every minute, despite his Eagles falling 9-1 to the Rams of Covenant Academy.
Malachi, a student at Sherwood Christian and the son of Roger and Kimberly Russell, was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer last year. Malachi is the ninth person that has been diagnosed with this form of cancer. He goes regularly to Atlanta for treatment and while his care has been all-consuming much of the time, Malachi is getting stronger and has been attending school and church regularly.
“He is on a treatment plan.” his dad Roger says. “We really won’t know anything for certain until an MRI that is scheduled in May, but Malachi is getting stronger. Recently, he took 15 steps using a walker. His upper body is definitely getting stronger, “ the senior Russel said. Malachi has also been able to move himself from his chair to the couch or the bed, which is something new for him.”We just want stability and to keep moving forward.”
Malachi’s dad said doctors are amazed and baffled with Malachi. “They told me they don’t normally talk to a 12-year-old about cancer treatment, but I told them that he says this is a fight and he wants to know. He told the doctors ‘Jesus has got me, what’s next?’”
The next big event for Malachi is a 5K coming up that is being orchestrated by Flint Community Bank. The event will raise money for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta where Malachi is treated and he will be on the course and be pushed through the race.
With all the love for Malachi and the Russell family in the stadium, there was still a baseball game to play. The Eagles had a big crowd of supporters on hand and things started out well for Sherwood Christian, but Covenant Academy pitcher Will Dahl didn’t allow too much to happen on his watch.
The Eagles scored first when Hayden Rish walked, stole second and then scored on a single to right by Patrick Burke. That was the only run Dahl and the Rams of Covenant Academy allowed. The Eagles got only two more hits during the game — one by Rish and one by Walker Flowers.
Dahl gave up a total of three hits and one run and struck out 10 Eagles.
Ashton Hughes started the game on the mound for the Eagles but was moved to shortstop when the bats of the Rams started getting hot. Hughes sat down the top of the first in order, but the Rams put four runs on the board in the second inning and three more in third. Right-handed pitcher Patrick Burke.moved into the pitcher’s spot and held the Rams to single runs in the fourth and the sixth innings.