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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, July 21, 2011
Once a great player, Kimmerer hopes to return
By Jordan J. Michael
GUILDERLAND Cancer didn’t take the life of Evan Kimmerer, but it took away two important years on the diamond for the talented baseball player. Recently, the Guilderland 14-year-old has started throwing and batting in moderation.
Kimmerer was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in September 2009 and received chemotherapy up until last December. Head Coach Jack Sturn has kept Kimmerer’s name on the Guilderland All Stars roster over the last two seasons.
“He was a great player and he’s a dear friend of the team,” said Sturn of Kimmerer this week. “We hope that he will join us in the future.”
The Guilderland All Stars beat Bethlehem, 20 to 3, on July 4 for the East Central New York Championship and will travel to Saugerties on Friday to compete in the Eastern New York Tournament. The team’s season will continue to Williamsport, Pa. if it finishes first or second in Saugerties.
Sturn and the players hadn’t seen Kimmerer all season long until Kimmerer showed up to watch a tournament game against Albany on July 2, which Guilderland won, 10 to 4. After the win, the players ran over to Kimmerer and greeted him with high fives and hopes of one day seeing him back on the field.
Kimmerer returned to watch Guilderland beat Bethlehem on July 4. “It’s nice to have him be there to watch the games,” Sturn said.
During Memorial Day weekend, Guilderland expected to have Kimmerer come along for a trip to Cooperstown, but Sturn said Kimmerer decided not to attend on short notice. It was disappointing, but the team knew that Kimmerer was fighting some demons.
“We would love for Evan to be there all the time, but he’s feeling anti-baseball right now,” said Sturn. “He has all of those memories of himself ruling the roost, so it hurts him to wonder what he used to be. He knew how great he was. The disappointment of not being able to play can make him not want to try and play.”
Kimmerer’s mother, Cindy, said that her son understood what cancer was when he was diagnosed and that he never complained. “He never asked, ‘Why is this happening to me?’” she said. “He had a great attitude. It didn’t really hit him until after.”
With the type of cancer Kimmerer had, fighting it off has left him with a 75 percent chance of survival.
“We hope that it doesn’t return,” Sturn said. “Not many children make it out cancer-free with such an aggressive kind. Tests have been clean and it’s an ongoing task to keep it away.”
Sturn told The Enterprise that Kimmerer’s battle with serious illness put his fellow players “on a path for manhood that is quicker than normal.” The players watched Kimmerer fight for his life and were there to support him every step of the way.
“They’re not kids anymore,” said Sturn. “They’re young men that think like young men. They’re not taking things for granted anymore after seeing what Evan went through. They’re a unique group of kids that love each other and we can see that. The chemistry is amazing.”
Ms. Kimmerer said that Evan “didn’t want anything to do with baseball” for a while until recently. His attitude and motivation took a turn for the better after making a trip to Yankee Stadium, provided by the Make A Wish Foundation, on July 9.
Kimmerer, a Yankees fan, met some players before the game, including Derek Jeter, who hit a home run for his 3,000th career hit.
“It was cool to meet the Yankees,” Kimmerer said. “Watching Jeter’s hit was very exciting. The fans were going crazy.”
The current group of Guilderland All Stars started playing with Kimmerer at age 11 and the group can choose to play together until age 22, Sturn said. Kimmerer will have a spot on the team when his skills and abilities are ready.
“Evan had potential,” said Sturn, fighting back tears. “We love him. He’s part of our fabric. That’s why we keep his name there.”
Kimmerer is now cancer free, but his overall health is not 100 percent. Ms. Kimmerer would love to see her son play baseball again, but she’s not sure how much effort Evan is willing to put into a comeback.
“The hardest part of all this was not feeling good most of the time,” said Kimmerer. “I’m not playing baseball right now, but hopefully I’ll be able to get back into it.”