ST. PETERSBURG - On Thursday evening standing in Tropicana Field, 9-year-old Alayna Adams knew that she was throwing the first pitch at a Rays' game but what she didn’t know was that her father was person behind the catcher's mask.
Alayna’s father, Army Lt. Col. Will Adams, had been stationed in Afghanistan for the past two years.
Adams was expected to return home Monday, but the Rays and United Services Organization orchestrated his early arrival and the special surprise. The surprise was even kept secret from Adams' wife Dana, who was at the game with their daughter.
Before Alayna threw the pitch, her dad appeared on the stadium's video screen with a taped message for his daughter and a few pitching tips. After she threw the ceremonial first pitch on the behalf of the USO, her dad, disguised as the catcher, removed his mask.
Realizing that her dad was standing right in front of her, Alayna ran towards her dad and jumped into his arms.
Make sure you have tissues ready before you press “play” on the video below:
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