Kevin D'Antignac was slightly nervous as he stepped on the mound at the Crawford Creek Baseball Park Complex last week.
The 12-year-old Riverside Middle School student went into his windup and delivered the payoff pitch. The ball buzzed across the corner of the plate, and Kevin's work was done.
Kevin joined his mother, Kathy, and sister Kristin, and the family walked off the diamond which now bares the name D'Antignac Field.
Bobby D'Antignac was in the prime of his life when he was diagnosed with cancer last year. The Evans resident underwent surgery and seemed to be recovering, but died on Dec. 20 at the age of 44.
Because of his years of service to the community and to Martinez-Evans Little League, the MELL board of directors unanimously decided to honor Bobby D'Antignac by dedicating the Crawford Creek minor league field in his name.
Kevin honored his father's memory by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Monday's matchup between the Yankees and Astros.
Kathy recalled how her husband of 24 years loved to hunt, fish and play golf. In time, another pursuit took precedence.
"As his son got older, he replaced all of his hobbies with baseball," she said. "This was his life, his heart. This is where he wanted to be. He was here before the game began and after it was over."
Bobby donated his time as a coach with Martinez-Evans Little League, where he sponsored teams and watched countless games. He was the one who brought the ice, carried the equipment, or helped maintain the field.
"He just liked to be in the background working and making sure everything was taken care of," Kathy said. "As a coach, he loved to win, but the development of the children is what he loved to see. He would pat the kids on the back and always offer words of encouragement."
Even when he was sick, Bobby D'Antignac thought of his family first. A week after having surgery, he went to the Lakeside High School football stadium to see Kristin participate in flag corps and band.
"This really makes us proud, to have the field named after him and to see all of the people he touched," Kristin said.
Kevin's perfect form on the ceremonial first pitch wasn't an accident. That's what his dad had taught him to do.
Still, the impact of Bobby D'Antignac goes beyond one pitch, and having his name immortalized on a scoreboard is but a tribute.
The greatest legacy is from how he lived.
"The thing that sticks in my mind is how dedicated Bobby was to the kids, to the league, and to Kevin," said Nancy Gooding, vice president of Martinez-Evans Little League. "Bobby was into little league for all the right reasons. He wanted the kids to have a good time and to learn something. That was important to him."
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