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Teen's Hard Work Pays Off In Major (League) Way

By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4) - Sunday at Coors Field was one of the biggest games of the early season for the Rockies, and one boy worked extra hard to earn some primo seats.

Thirteen-year-old Brayden Tate loves baseball.

"Oh, it's my favorite sport by a lot," Brayden says.

His father Damian Tate can back that up.

"It's baseball everything," Damian Tate said. "He knows stats of Major League Baseball players. He knows their positions they play, what number hitter they are."

Last year he was running the bases for his team, the Longmont Bombers, when the unthinkable happened.

Damian remembers it well.

"He was stealing first, had to go back to first on a pop up and dove into the base and wound up breaking his thumb."

Brayden went and saw Dr. Bishop at UCHealth who gave him the bad news: Brayden needed six weeks of recovery.

Damian remembers, "It was a whirlwind couple of weeks."

Brayden worked extra hard to get back to playing shape. When the state tournament rolled around, just four weeks into his six week recovery, Brayden told Dr. Bishop he was ready.

"Against his better judgement he let Brayden play in the state tournament," Damian Tate said.

Oh boy, was Brayden ready.

"Bottom of the inning they were down by one run and Brayden had a walk off two run triple," remembers his father.

Brayden's team went on to win the state championship.

Rockies Teen 6 (abeyta)
(credit: Damian Tate via UCHealth)

A storybook ending for a young baseball player and fan, but that was just the beginning.

Inspired by his hard work, UCHealth and the Rockies had a surprise for him. They invited him and his family to go to spring training with the Colorado Rockies.

The surprise trip was all a part of UCHealth's Moments to Shine program, where UCHealth works with various community partners to create special experiences for inspiring patients and families.

Rockies Teen 9 (abeyta)
(credit: UCHealth)

Brayden and his family enjoyed the trip of a lifetime.

Rockies Teen 1 (abeyta)
(credit: UCHealth)

He saw games and met his favorite players -- and Dinger, too.

Rockies Teen 13 (abeyta)
(credit: UCHealth)

Plus, he got plenty of what every hungry teenage boy really wants -- food.

With a twinkle in his eye, Brayden remembers the smorgasbord, "Burgers, pizza, free drinks like Coke and all that."

Rockies Teen 12 (abeyta)
(credit: UCHealth)

The cherry on top: club level seats to see the Rockies play the Cubs on Sunday.

Brayden says, "It's awesome. A once in a lifetime opportunity."

Rockies Teen 2 (abeyta)
(credit: UCHealth)

Brayden enjoyed the game from club level, but he was in a hurry to get back to Longmont right afterward. The Bombers had a double header scheduled Sunday night and he wasn't going to miss it!

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.

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