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As a resident of the TRUNA neighborhood I am grateful for all the wonderful work of Councilman Bell for the last two...

Pirates help grant fan's wish

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11-year-old James Elpers smiles as he is given a ball by a member of the ECU baseball team Friday afternoon. The team surprised James by informing him that he received at trip to Disney World through the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

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By Ronnie Woodward
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, October 22, 2016

It is tradition for the NFL Super Bowl winning quarterback to announce in a commercial that he’s “going to Disney World.”

Eleven-year-old James Elpers isn’t a Super Bowl QB, but he also is going to Disney World next week.

The East Carolina baseball team partnered with Make-A-Wish of eastern North Carolina on Friday to grant baseball fan Elpers, a Pitt County resident who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis a month into his life, his wish of a vacation to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.

“This means a lot,” said James’ mother Melissa Elpers. “He goes through a lot, so he deserves it. We’re just really thankful for everybody that took part in this. ... I just wanted it to be a big surprise to him and something he’ll never forget.”

After the Pirates took batting practice, head coach Cliff Godwin and a few players went into the stands at Clark-LeClair Stadium to talk to James, who thought he was there just to watch practice. They all came back onto the field for the Make-A-Wish reveal in front of the entire team.

Everyone then watched him play catch with ECU infielder Charlie Yorgen.

“This was probably one of the coolest moments I’ve had while being a student-athlete here,” Yorgen said. “He was out there throwing it hard from the start, and probably should play second base in our scrimmage. That was just an awesome experience getting to play catch with him.”

Elpers is a player for Sylvan Learning Center of Greenville Little Leagues. He was joined by teammates, friends and family at the stadium.

“I’m shocked,” he said.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 or follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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