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Girl with 3D-printed hand throws first pitch at Giants game

The San Francisco Giants added a special pitcher to their roster for the day. It was small -- yet fierce -- Hailey Dawson, who has a 3D-printed hand.

The energetic 8-year-old from Nevada was invited to throw out the first pitch at the Giants game on Sunday. Dawson was born with a rare birth defect called Poland syndrome, which affected her hand.

With a traditional prosthetic potentially costing thousands of dollars, Haley's mom, Yong Dawson turned to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for help.

"I emailed UNLV engineering, and they responded. We met up and, you know, they accepted the challenge," she told CBS News' Carter Evans last fall.

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Hailey Dawson shows of her 3D-printed hand.

The Dawson Family

Brendan O'Toole, chairman of the mechanical engineering department, said he and his team get a lot of requests, "but this one was different." They got to work using a 3D printer. Several prototypes and fittings later, Dawson got her first hand about four years ago.

Since then, doctors and researchers at the University Of Nevada-Las Vegas have created multiple 3D-printed hands for Dawson, including a special one for Giants' game day.

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Hailey Dawson shows a CBS San Francisco reporter her 3D-printed hand, decorated for her first pitch at the Giants Game.

KPIX

The special 3D-printed hand features the Giants' colors with the team name written across it. Hailey's mother said the bionic hand has given her daughter a wonderful lift.

"When she puts this robotic hand on, it changes her personality and confidence level," Yong Dawson told CBS San Francisco. "I love seeing that. I just wanted her to have an even playing field."

When she arrived at AT&T park on Sunday, Hailey got to hang out with players in the dugout. They even let her try on their World Series rings.

She practiced a few warm-up pitches, then approached the field. "This is a really cool field!" Dawson said while warming up her throwing arm. "I'm really excited."

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Hailey Dawson warms up before throwing out the first pitch.

KPIX

Using her 3D-printed hand, Dawson threw out the perfect first pitch. Then with a wave and a smile, she headed into the stands to cheer on her newfound friends on the Giants.

This is not Hailey's first time being invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Major League Baseball game. She also threw the first pitch at Game 4 of the 2017 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros. 

"Oh, it makes me so proud," her mother told KPIX. "She doesn't understand what an inspiration she is. What she tells me is, 'I'm just being Hailey!' And that's the coolest part."