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Roque’s field of dreams

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Roque’s field of dreams

Senior shortstop Tony Roque steps into a pitch during a game against Academy of Art. Photo credit: Lindsay Pincus

Senior shortstop Tony Roque steps into a pitch during a game against Academy of Art. Photo credit: Lindsay Pincus

Senior shortstop Tony Roque steps into a pitch during a game against Academy of Art. Photo credit: Lindsay Pincus

Senior shortstop Tony Roque steps into a pitch during a game against Academy of Art. Photo credit: Lindsay Pincus

Anna Baytosh

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For months, senior shortstop Tony Roque was included in a group message about raising money to buy a team pingpong table. To his surprise, the Chico State baseball team instead invested the money in something of incomparable value.

Since Roque can remember, his mother has relentlessly worked two jobs in his hometown of Boise, Idaho. As a result she was unable to attend most of his baseball games growing up.

On a team retreat Roque shared that his mother had never seen him play in a collegiate baseball game.

“One thing I really wanted to open up to the team about was my mom never really getting to see me play baseball,” Roque said. “It’s kind of a big deal for me.”

On Feb. 25, this changed.

The team had just finished practice and gathered around to hear junior Clayton Gelfand give a brief speech on how Roque’s story touched their hearts.

The team then parted and revealed Roque’s mother, Josefina Roque.

Overwhelmed with surprise by the sight of his mother, Roque embraced her for the hug of a lifetime.

In this moment, a month’s worth of planning by head coach Dave Taylor, along with teammates Gelfand and senior outfielder Braxton Phillips, became a reality.

 

“What those boys did for me and my son is truly remarkable. I will forever be grateful to them for this very emotional moment they gave my family and me,” Josefina Roque said. “I am proud of my son for all that he has gone through and accomplished.”

The team had saved up enough money among themselves to provide a plane ticket and hotel. Roque’s mother was able to come to the Chico State home opener weekend at Nettleton Stadium to see her son play for the first time in a collegiate baseball game.

“I couldn’t believe a group of guys had done that for me and put all this effort into it. Shoot, we struggle making plans to go eat breakfast,” Roque said. “I could not believe that I turned around and saw my mom there.”

T.RoqueWeb.jpg

Senior shortstop Tony Roque bunts the ball during a game against Academy of Art. Photo credit: Lindsay Pincus

 

Just like his mother’s hard work, Roque’s journey to Chico State has paid off with determination and perseverance. He started his collegiate athletic career with a year at Western Nevada College in Carson City, Nevada, and played his second year as a Bronc for the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg, Texas.

Roque decided to finish his kinesiology education as a Wildcat.

Josefina Roque says this amazing gesture by Roque’s teammates reflects what a great character he has.

“It was something we had to do. It was not an option,” Gelfand said. “We had to get it done.”

Anna Baytosh can be reached at [email protected] or @anna_baytosh on Twitter.

 

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Roque’s field of dreams