DELTA, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) When Delta takes the field against University in the first round of the CHSAA 3A State Baseball Torunament they'll play for more than a state title.
"It would be just that much better because of the hand that we've been dealt this season," said Delta senior Jaspar Carmichael.
A few weeks ago Delta baseball player Clayton Abila had a pain in his chest following the Panthers' league title game against Cedaredge. There was a large mass in his heart which was later diagnosed as Type B Lymphoma.
"When we learned about his situation it's obviously terrible," said Carmichael. "It really brought us closer together as a team and closer to him."
The Panthers ended up winning the regional title with Clayton in the stands.
"The fact he sat with us two games this last week after going through treatments the whole week before says a lot about him," said Delta head coach Steve Reiher. "There were 17 guys and five coaches doing everything we could to win those two games for him."
Clayton is undergoing treatment. His teammates honored him by shaving their heads for the state tournament. The team says a sate title would be even better.
"As of right now it kind of seems like the closest group I've ever been a part of," said Carmichael. " I can't even imagine what it would be like. It would be incredible."
First pitch between Delta and University is scheduled for Monday at Niwot High School, weather permitting.
A GoFundMe page has been set up in Clayton's honor. If you wish to donate click the link on the right-hand side of your screen.